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Time to set new agenda, says Modi-Obama joint editorial

In an unprecedented diplomatic stance, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama wrote a joint editorial where they said India and US have decided to undertake a new agenda in moving ahead the bilateral strategic ties and bringing concrete and tangible benefits for the citizens of both countries.

The 821-word editorial – A Renewed US-India Partnership For the 21st Century – was posted on the website of Washington Post.

“The advent of a new government in India is a natural opportunity to broaden and deepen our relationship. With a reinvigorated level of ambition and greater confidence, we can go beyond modest and conventional goals. It is time to set a new agenda, one that realizes concrete benefits for our citizens,” it said even as both leaders believe that the true potential of the bilateral relationship is yet to be fully realized.

The article was penned digitally after both leaders interacted electronically. It was finalised post Modi’s meeting with Obama during the White House dinner on Monday night, according to ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.

Modi is the first such PM from India who took such a step of writing a joint opinion piece.

In the editorial, both leaders asserted that the new agenda will seek to find mutually rewarding ways to expand India-US collaboration in areas such as trade, investment and technology.

“This will be an agenda that enables us to find mutually rewarding ways to expand our collaboration in trade, investment and technology that harmonize with India’s ambitious development agenda, while sustaining the United States as the global engine of growth,” the editorial stated.

Interestingly, India and US got engaged in a bitter tiff over these very same areas of trade, investment and technology with American firms complaining about India’s trade practices which they believe to be unfair and discriminatory.

Both leaders also said that during the summit level talks both leaders will discuss ways to boost manufacturing and expand affordable renewable energy, while sustainably securing the future of our common environment.

In a high diplomatic pitch Obama and Modi carefully penned down how both countries are naturally complementary to each other.

“While India benefits from the growth generated by US investment and technical partnerships, the United States benefits from a stronger, more prosperous India. In turn, the region and the world benefit from the greater stability and security that our friendship creates. We remain committed to the larger effort to integrate South Asia and connect it with markets and people in Central and Southeast Asia.”

Both leaders regarded the present nature of the bilateral relationship as “robust, reliable and enduring” and something that is ‘expanding’ over every passing decade.

US said it is ready to assist India in uplifting the lives of millions of poor in India. It also offered help in developing Modi’s ‘Clean India’ (Swachh Bharat) campaign through expertise and technology in improving sanitation and hygiene across the country.

Prime Minister Modi is slated to launch the campaign on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2.

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