U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives
in India Friday for a four-day visit. India hopes the visit will demonstrate
that the United States remains committed to building on a strategic partnership
developed between the two countries under the previous Bush administration.
U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton will visit India's financial
hub Mumbai before heading to New Delhi on Sunday where she will hold talks with
senior Indian leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
comes at a time when relations between the two countries have leaped forward.
The foundations for the India-U.S. strategic partnership were laid during the
previous Bush administration, which lifted a three-decade long ban on sale of
civil nuclear technology to New Delhi, although India is not a signatory to the
nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Bharat Karnad, a security expert at New
Delhi's Center for Policy Research says India is hoping that the Clinton visit
will demonstrate that the Obama administration also intends to strengthen and
deepen ties between the two countries.
"This is more of an exploratory
trip for both sides," Karnad said. "Both sides are going to sound each other
out, see where there is give, where can there be a bit more take, and serious
talks and negotiations on a whole range of issues is then going to
In recent months, policy makers and analysts in New Delhi have
voiced concerns on several counts. Some worry that the Obama administration's
focus on fighting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan could take some
attention away from India.
There are also fears that the Obama
administration intends to put more pressure on India to sign the Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty, which New Delhi has long resisted.
Bharat Karnad says
New Delhi will be seeking reassurance, rather than any new initiatives on such
issues, during Clinton's visit.
"They are I think a bit apprehensive….in
particular the Obama administration's emphasis on the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty and trying to get India generally into the non proliferation treaty net,"
Karnad said. "These are concerns that I think have led to a little bit of worry
on the part of Indian policymakers, and [they will want] to find out if U.S.
policy remains the same, or if it is not the same, how much it departs from what
it was in the time of President George W. Bush."
During the visit, the
two sides are expected to finalize two agreements. India is expected to announce
that it has set aside two sites for U.S. companies to build nuclear power
plants, clearing the way for American businesses to get nearly $10 billion in
business. The two countries are also scheduled to sign an agreement to ensure
that U.S. arms technology sold to India is not leaked to third countries.