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Press Release on the visit of Foreign Secretary Mr. Shivshankar Menon to Washington, DC December 1-2, 2008

Washington, DC
December 2, 2008

Foreign Secretary Mr. Shivshankar Menon was in Washington D.C. on December 1-2, 2008. He had meeting with Deputy Secretary of State Mr. John Negroponte, and extended discussions, including over lunch, with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Ambassador William Burns.

2. The meetings covered a range of bilateral issues including counter terrorism cooperation, anti-piracy coordination, the India-US civil nuclear agreement, defence trade, space cooperation and furthering economic and investment relations between the two countries.

3. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi called Foreign Secretary to convey condolences. Foreign Secretary Mr. Menon also had meetings on the Hill, including with House Majority Leader Congressman Steny Hoyer; Chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Senator Christopher Dodd; Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Richard G. Lugar; and Ranking Minority Member for Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Chuck Hagel. He also had a conversation with Senator John Kerry, the Chairman of the Sub Committee on Near East & Central & South Asia in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

4. There were meetings also with leaders of several think-tanks and influential opinion-makers.

5. In every conversation, support and commitment was articulated to the transformed relationship, and desire expressed to sustain the momentum through the present transition in US, and beyond. All the interlocutors expressed sympathy and support to the Government and people of India in the context of the heinous terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Unequivocal condemnation of the incident and the need for the perpetrators to be held accountable was reiterated. It was also indicated that there would be full cooperation and support at various levels, including government, from the US to India as it dealt with the consequences of the incident.

6. In meetings with several of the Senators, there were also discussions on the present international economic and financial situation, the new opportunities for cooperation following the successful conclusion of the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between India and the US, issues related to energy security, climate change etc.