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Remarks by MEA Official Spokesperson on the discussions between US Under Secretary of State Mr. Nicholas Burns and Foreign Secretary Mr. Shyam Saran

New Delhi
June 24, 2005

Official Spokesperson: Good evening. I have a readout on the discussions between Mr. Nicholas Burns and the Foreign Secretary Mr. Shyam Saran and their delegations today. 

The two delegations had extensive discussions this afternoon. Several issues were discussed. First, the entire bilateral relationship in light of the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Washington was discussed and in this context several bilateral initiatives which have been taken by the two countries in recent months were gone into. These covered the economic relationship, areas like education, science and technology and environment with a view to see how much more progress could be made in these areas before the Prime Minister goes to Washington. 

The two sides also focused on the energy dialogue and economic dialogue. Some initial steps have been taken in both these dialogues and both sides are examining very carefully what more can be done on this in the coming weeks and months. The NSSP (Next Steps in Strategic Partnership) was also discussed. Both sides felt that progress had been made in this regard. The US side also appreciated the WMD legislation which India has recently passed and which you are all familiar with. 

The UN reforms formed a major part of the discussions including the reform of the UN Security Council. Both sides put forward their perspectives on the UN reform. We conveyed to the US side the progress made on the G-4 draft framework resolution and the intention of the G-4 to go forward with the resolution as per the decision made in Brussels recently. Mr. Burns conveyed to the Foreign Secretary that while India meets the criteria laid down by the United States, whom the United States chooses would be a political question on which a decision would be taken by the President of the United States. 

There will be another session of discussions tomorrow in which bilateral, regional and international issues will be discussed.