Kolkata, July 1 (IANS) Asserting that the US was “delighted and happy” to engage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a senior official of the Barack Obama administration on Friday said the Indian leader’s commitment to strengthen bilateral relations would help maintain the ties when Washington elects its next government.
Speaking at a media roundtable here at the American Centre, Under Secretary of State for Politicial Affairs Tom Shannon also underlined the significance of Indo-US ties for the growth and prosperity of the Indian Ocean rim region.
“We have been delighted to deal with Prime Minister Modi. He has been an effective national leader and in terms of how we have engaged with him and his government, we have, accelerated the pace of positive change in the bilateral relationship.
“We have great hopes, that as we head in to our own elections and political transition, the prime minister’s commitment to strengthen the bilateral relationship, is going to help us maintain that kind of philosophy as we move into our next government,” he said.
Pointing to the importance of Indian Ocean as a transit link, Shannon said the US ties with India will play a major role in the growth of the region.
“As we look at the Indian Ocean rim region, what is striking about is that it holds about 1/3rd of world’s population, about 2/3rd of all oil and gas produced in the Middle East transits through the Indian Ocean and 2/3rd of all manufactured goods transit in the Indian Ocean.
“So when we look at the combination of huge market plus a major transportation zone, the strategic importance of the region, for global prosperity, is obvious,” he said.
Describing India as the “most prominent country” and the one that will be “most important and dominant force” in the region, he said US ties with India were imperative.
“Our ability to have relationship with India, focuses on the broad security of the region, ability to resolve dispute peacefully and to use the region to facilitate economic growth and prosperity is so obvious, that to walk away from this from this point of time would be a huge mistake,” he said.
Shannon also informed about the US setting up six nuclear reactors in Andhra Pradesh.
“We are possibly looking at building six reactors in Andhra Pradesh. That is our immediate focus. Once those projects are up and running, we are very open to looking at what we might be able to do elsewhere,” he added.