The United States is building a “robust” and long-term “military exchange” with India that will include talks on nuclear weapons, efforts to rebuild Afghanistan and cooperation in the war on terrorism, according to Robert Blackwill, the U.S. ambassador to India.
Mr. Blackwill, in interviews last week with Western and Indian reporters, noted that the Washington summit between President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was only the beginning of an intensive new relationship.
The ambassador talked to the Indian Express on Friday on a visit to Hawaii, where he was discussing plans for U.S.-Indian military cooperation with Adm. Dennis Blair, chief of the U.S. Pacific Command.
Mr. Blackwill said that Adm. Blair will visit India “in the next couple of weeks,” and that the Pentagon’s third-highest official, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Fieth, will follow on a separate visit.
The ambassador said the Bush-Vajpayee meeting “was the most substantial summit in Indo-U.S. relations.”
“I see a robust military-to-military exchange between India and the U.S. based on its own merits,” he said. “India and the U.S. share common democratic values. … It is the kind of thing we have not done with anyone else in the world.”
The new relationship will include the resumption of U.S. arms sales to India, joint military exercises and training programs, close cooperation in the war against terrorism and talks on nuclear arms and the civilian use of nuclear energy, he said.
Mr. Blackwill also said India needs to be involved in efforts to help rebuild Afghanistan.
“India is seeking a larger role in the reconstruction of a post-Taliban formation in Afghanistan, and the U.S. believes that India needs to be right in the middle of discussions in Afghanistan,” he said.
The Kuwaiti ambassador says his country has taken an “important step” in the war on terrorism by signing an airline passenger agreement with the United States.
“This is one very small but important step in our overall cooperation with the U.S. efforts to wage war on terrorism,” Ambassador Salem Abdullah Sabah said in a statement after Kuwait Airways signed an agreement to provide passenger lists to three U.S. government agencies in advance of flights to the United States.
The state-owned airline will supply the information to the Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Kuwait’s agreement to increase its level of cooperation with the Advance Passenger Information System was signed Oct. 31 but announced last week.
Mr. Sabah also said Kuwait has “taken concrete steps” to prevent money from Kuwaiti charitable foundations from financing terrorist groups.
“Our level of cooperation with the United States is at its highest,” he said.
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
Philippines President Gloria Arroyo, who meets Vice President Richard Cheney and addresses invited guests at Georgetown University. Tomorrow she meets President Bush, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. She also delivers the keynote speech at a banquet hosted by the U.S.-Association of South East Asian Nations’ Business Council.
Oksama Antonenko of London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies joins a panel discussion on terrorism and Central Asia at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Boris Kolonitsky of the Russian Academy of Sciences discusses the Communist Revolution and contemporary Russia at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
Abbey Chikane, chairman of the South African Diamond Board, holds a 3 p.m. news conference at the South African ambassador’s residence, 3101 Massachusetts Ave. NW, to discuss efforts to control the smuggling of “conflict diamonds,” which fund wars in Africa.
Tundu Lissu of the Lawyer’s Environmental Action Team of Tanzania joins a panel to brief reporters on the World Resources Institute’s new report on dams and other water-management issues.