Clinton finishes her visit to India
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is rounding off her visit to India by meeting the country's leaders. They're going to discuss upcoming deals for American firms to build nuclear power plants there.
Another key issue will be reducing pollution, although some fear this issue could be a stumbling block.
One reason Delhi is closely watching Clinton's visit, is that President Obama has centered his regional focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan. But Washington knows it cannot afford to ignore India.
Secretary Clinton knows the country well and says Washington wants to 'broaden and deepen' its dialogue with it.
“We respect the right of India to make choices that India decides are in the best interests of the Indian people,” Clinton said.
Many in India believe it was Washington that gently persuaded Delhi to restart peace talks last week with Islamabad. They were on hold since last year’s Mumbai attacks.
Manoj Joshi, consulting editor for Indian Mail Today newspaper that is published in conjunction with the Daily Mail, sees positive signs in US-Indian relations.
“The United States does see India as a stabilizing factor in the region, and would like India to play the role by not doing anything to distract Pakistan,” he says.
It was last year's nuclear trade deal between the US and India that transformed the two countries' relationship. The Bush administration helped India end its nuclear isolation after three decades – and Mrs. Clinton is keen to keep that energy alive.
India is expected to name two sites for American-built atomic power plants. It is a business worth billions of dollars, and the US plans on cashing in.
The Obama administration also needs Delhi's on help on one of its key objectives: global warming. But India, along with China, has been a major dissenting voice in climate talks – especially on reducing carbon emissions.
“What we've been telling the United States’ government and industry is: if you want substantial co-operation from us, you cannot expect us to adopt those high standards on emissions which you want to impose on yourself, because your emissions are far higher than ours,” Joshi says.
But Clinton will have a lot to prove. While trade talks could be a relatively easy journey, convincing India to work more closely with Pakistan on terrorism, and getting it to cut its pollution could prove to be a much bumpier ride.