The President's Trip to South Asia


Office of the Press Secretary
(New Delhi, India)

For Immediate ReleaseMarch 21, 2000


U.S.-India Relations: A Vision for the 21st Century

At the dawn of a new century, President Clinton and Prime MinisterVajpayee resolve to create a closer and qualitatively new relationshipbetween the United States and India.

We are two of the world's largest democracies. We are nations forgedfrom many traditions and faiths, proving year after year that diversity isour strength. From vastly different origins and experiences, we have cometo the same conclusions: that freedom and democracy are the strongest basesfor both peace and prosperity, and that they are universal aspirations,constrained neither by culture nor levels of economic development

There have been times in the past when our relationship driftedwithout a steady course. As we now look towards the future, we areconvinced that it is time to chart a new and purposeful direction in ourrelationship.

Globalization is erasing boundaries and building networks betweennations and peoples, economies and cultures. The world is increasinglycoming together around the democratic ideals India and the United Stateshave long championed and lived by.

Together, we represent a fifth of the world's people, more than aquarter of the world's economy. We have built creative, entrepreneurialsocieties. We are leaders in the information age. The currents ofcommerce and culture that link our societies run strong and deep. In manyways, the character of the 21st century world will depend on the success ofour cooperation for peace, prosperity, democracy and freedom.

That presents us with an opportunity, but also a profoundresponsibility to work together. Our partnership of shared ideals leads usto seek a natural partnership of shared endeavors.

In the new century, India and the United States will be partners inpeace, with a common interest in and complementary responsibility forensuring regional and international security. We will engage in regularconsultations on, and work together for, strategic stability in Asia andbeyond. We will bolster joint efforts to counter terrorism and meet otherchallenges to regional peace. We will strengthen the internationalsecurity system, including in the United Nations, and support the UnitedNations in its peacekeeping efforts. We acknowledge that tensions in SouthAsia can only be resolved by the nations of South Asia. India is committedto enhancing cooperation, peace and stability in the region.

India and the United States share a commitment to reducing andultimately eliminating nuclear weapons, but we have not always agreed onhow to reach this common goal. The United States believes India shouldforgo nuclear weapons. India believes that it needs to maintain a credibleminimum nuclear deterrent in keeping with its own assessment of itssecurity needs. Nonetheless, India and the U.S. are prepared to worktogether to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and their means ofdelivery. To this end, we will persist with and build upon the productivebilateral dialogue already underway.

We reaffirm our respective voluntary commitments to forgo furthernuclear explosive tests. We will work together and with others for anearly commencement of negotiations on a treaty to end the production offissile materials for nuclear weapons. We have both shown strongcommitments to export controls, and will continue to strengthen them. Wewill work together to prevent the spread of dangerous technologies. We arecommitted to build confidence and reduce the chances of miscalculation. Wewill pursue our security needs in a restrained and responsible manner, andwill not engage in nuclear and missile arms races. We will seek to narrowour differences and increase mutual understanding on non-proliferation andsecurity issues. This will help us to realize the full potential ofIndo-U.S. relations and contribute significantly to regional and globalsecurity.

The true measure of our strength lies in the ability of our people toshape their destiny and to realize their aspirations for a better life.That is why the United States and India are and will be allies in the causeof democracy. We will share our experience in nurturing and strengtheningdemocratic institutions the world over and fighting the challenge todemocratic order from forces such as terrorism. We will cooperate withothers to launch an international Community of Democracies this year.

The United States applauds India's success in opening its economy, itsachievements in science and technology, its commitment to a new wave ofeconomic expansion and reform, and its determination to bring the benefitsof economic growth to all its people. Our nations pledge to reduceimpediments to bilateral trade and investment and to expand commercebetween us, especially in the emerging knowledge-based industries andhigh-technology areas.

We will work together to preserve stability and growth in the globaleconomy as well. And we will join in an unrelenting battle against povertyin the world, so that the promise of a new economy is felt everywhere andno nation is left behind. That is among the fundamental challenges of ourtime. Opening trade and resisting protectionism are the best means formeeting it. We support an open, equitable and transparent rule-basedmultilateral trading system, and we will work together to strengthen it. Weagree that developed countries should embrace policies that offerdeveloping countries the opportunity to grow, because growth is the key torising incomes and rising standards. At the same time, we share theconviction that human development also requires empowerment of people andavailability of basic freedoms.

As leaders in the forefront of the new high-technology economy, werecognize that countries can achieve robust economic growth whileprotecting the environment and taking action to combat climate change. Wewill do our part to meet the global environmental challenges, includingclimate change and the impacts of air and water pollution on human health.

We also pledge a common effort to battle the infectious diseases thatkill people and retard progress in so many countries. India is at theforefront of the global effort that has brought us to the threshold of theeradication of polio. With leadership, joint research, and application ofmodern science, we can and will do the same for the leading killers of ourtime, including AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

We are proud of the cooperation between Indians and Americans inadvancing frontiers of knowledge. But even as we unravel the mysteries oftime and space, we must continue to apply our knowledge to olderchallenges: eradicating human suffering, disease and poverty. In the past,our cooperation helped ease mass hunger in the world. In the future, itwill focus as well on the development of clean energy, health, andeducation.

Our partnership is not an end in itself, but a means to all theseends. And it is reinforced by the ties of scholarship, commerce, andincreasingly of kinship among our people. The industry, enterprise andcultural contributions of Americans of Indian heritage have enriched andenlivened both our societies.

Today, we pledge to deepen the Indian-American partnership in tangibleways, always seeking to reconcile our differences through dialogue andengagement, always seizing opportunities to advance the countless interestswe have in common. As a first step, President Clinton has invited PrimeMinister Vajpayee to visit Washington at a mutually convenient opportunity,and the Prime Minister has accepted that invitation. Henceforth, thePresident of the United States and the Prime Minister of India should meetregularly to institutionalize our dialogue. We have also agreed on andseparately outlined an architecture of additional high-level consultations,and of joint working groups, across the broad spectrum of areas in which weare determined to institutionalize our enhanced cooperation. And we willencourage even stronger people-to-people ties.

For India and the United States, this is a day of new beginnings. Wehave before us for the first time in 50 years the possibility to realizethe full potential of our relationship. We will work to seize that chance,for our benefit and all those with whom we share this increasinglyinterdependent world.

William Jefferson Clinton
President of the United States of

Atal Behari Vajpayee
Prime Minister of India

Done on March 21, 2000 at New Delhi


Institutional Dialogue
Between the United States and India

  1. During the visit of President Clinton to Delhi in March 2000,President Clinton and Prime Minister Vajpayee agreed as part of theirvision for the future relationship that a regular, wide-ranging dialogue isimportant for achieving the goal of establishing closer and multifacetedrelations between India and the United States and for the two countries towork jointly for promotion of peace and prosperity in the 21st century.The two leaders agreed on a number of steps to intensify andinstitutionalize the dialogue between India and the United States.

  2. The President of the United States and Prime Minister of India willhold regular bilateral 'Summits' in alternating capitals or elsewhere,including on the occasions of multilateral meetings, to review bilateralrelations and consult on international developments and issues. They willremain in frequent contact by telephone and through letters.

  3. The two countries will also hold an Annual Foreign Policy Dialogue atthe level of the Secretary of State of the United States and ExternalAffairs Minister of India. This dialogue will be broad-based and touchupon all aspects of US-India relations, including considering the work ofother groups as appropriate.

  4. The two countries also consider the ongoing Dialogue on Security andNon-proliferation between the Deputy Secretary of State of the UnitedStates and External Affairs Minister of India important for improvingmutual understanding on bilateral, regional and international securitymatters. They agreed that this dialogue should continue and take placesemi-annually or as often as considered desirable by both sides. ThePrincipals of this dialogue will establish Expert Groups on specific issuesas considered desirable and appropriate.

  5. Foreign Office Consultations between the Under Secretary of State forPolitical Affairs of the United States and Foreign Secretary of India willcontinue. The two leaders believe that close cooperation between the twocountries is a factor of stability in the politically and culturallydiverse and rapidly transforming Asia. A Dialogue on Asian Security willalso be conducted as part of the Foreign Office Consultations. The twosides will also stay in close touch and consult on international democracyinitiatives.

  6. The two leaders consider combating international terrorism as one ofthe most important global challenges. They expressed satisfaction at theestablishment of the Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism and itsproductive first meeting in February 2000. They agree that the JointWorking Group should continue to meet regularly and become an effectivemechanism for the two countries to share information and intensify theircooperation in combating terrorism.

  7. The two leaders see an enormous potential for enhancement of economicand business relations between the two countries in the Knowledge Age.They decided to institutionalize bilateral economic dialogue. They willkeep themselves informed and follow developments in the bilateral economicdialogue closely through a high-level coordinating group. The coordinatinggroup will be led on the US side by the White House with the support of theState Department, and on the Indian side by the Prime Minister's Officewith the support of the Ministry of External Affairs.
    The Coordinating Group will develop a common economic agenda for and undertake preparations for the Heads of Government meetings. With broad inter-agency and inter-ministerial representations at senior official levels, it would convene regularly to facilitate close coordination on the various issues raised in the ministerial dialogues and ensure that discussions therein complement and reinforce broad economic and foreign policy objectives, including the deepening of bilateral cooperation on high technology and information technology issues.

    US-India Financial and Economic Forum: The US Secretary of the Treasury and the Indian Minister of Finance will host a forum on finance and investment issues, macroeconomic policy and international economic developments at regular intervals. Their meetings at the ministerial level would be supplemented by sub-Cabinet meetings and involve, as appropriate, the participation of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Reserve, Council of Economic Advisors, and other officials of the US Government and the Securities and Exchange Board of India, Reserve Bank of India, and other officials of the Government of India.

    US-India Commercial Dialogue: The US Secretary of Commerce and Minister of Commerce and Industry of India will lead a dialogue to deepen ties between the Indian and American Business communities. The dialogue will encompass regular government-to-government meetings to be held in conjunction with private sector meetings. Its aim will be to (a) facilitate trade, and (b) maximize investment opportunities across a broad range of economic sectors, including information technology, infrastructure, biotechnology, and services. Participation will include, as appropriate, representatives of other Cabinet agencies and ministries on both sides. Close contact will be maintained with business associations, and activities will be planned with the benefit of such private sector input, including the establishment of subcommittees to pursue specific projects or sectoral issues of mutual interest.

    US-India Working Group on Trade: The United States Trade Representative and the Ministry of Commerce and other concerned Ministries/Departments of the Government of India will engage in regular discussion to enhance cooperation on trade policy. As appropriate, individual trade issues could be examined in greater depth with the participation of other agencies with corresponding responsibilities and through creation of sub-groups. The Group will serve as a locus of consultation on a broad range of trade-related issues, including those pertaining to the World Trade Organization. The Group will receive inputs from the private sector (including trade policy issues identified in the US-India Commercial Dialogue) as appropriate.

  8. The two leaders consider cooperation between the two countries inenergy and environment an important part of their vision for the future.They have agreed to set up a Joint Consultative Group on Clean Energy andEnvironment. The Group will hold periodic ministerial/high level meetingsas desirable and appropriate and will lay emphasis on collaborativeprojects, developing and deploying clean energy technologies, public andprivate sector investment and cooperation, and climate change and otherenvironmental issues. The Co-conveners of the Group will be the Departmentof State of the United States and the Ministry of External Affairs ofIndia.

  9. The two leaders believe that the strong scientific resources of thetwo countries provide excellent opportunities for scientific collaborationbetween them. They agree to set up a US-India Science and TechnologyForum. The Forum shall promote research and development, the transfer oftechnology, the creation of a comprehensive electronic reference source forUS-India science and technology cooperation, and the electronic exchangeand dissemination of information on US-India science and technologycooperation, and other programs consistent with the previous practice ofthe US-India Foundation.

  10. Institutional dialogue in other areas will be considered as mutuallyagreed.

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