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Joint Statement during the visit of US President Barack Obama to India

Written By Gopal Krishna on Sunday, January 25, 2015 | 6:43 AM

Joint Statement – ''Shared Effort; Progress for All'' 

1. The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, accompanied by First Lady Michelle Obama, is visiting India from 25-27 January 2015. The President of India and the Prime Minister of India welcomed the U.S. President as the Chief Guest at India's 66th Republic Day celebrations, the first U.S. President to grace this historic event.
2. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama assessed the extensive bilateral strategic and global partnership between their two countries and pledged to continue to enhance cooperation across the spectrum of human endeavor to better their citizens’ lives and that of the global community.
3. Noting that the multifaceted partnership between the United States and India is rooted in shared values of democracy and strong economic and people-to-people ties, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi elevated the bilateral relationship through their endorsement of a new India-U.S. Delhi Declaration of Friendship, which builds on their 30 September Vision Statement by articulating tangible principles to guide ongoing efforts to advance mutual prosperity, a clean and healthy environment, greater economic cooperation, regional peace, security and stability for the larger benefit of humankind.
4. Recognizing the important role that both countries play in promoting peace, prosperity, stability and security in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, and noting that India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and the United States’ rebalance to Asia provide opportunities for India, the United States, and other Asia-Pacific countries to work closely to strengthen regional ties, the Leaders announced a Joint Strategic Vision to guide their engagement in the region.
5. The Prime Minister and the President acknowledged and expressed satisfaction at the qualitative reinvigoration of strategic ties and the intensity of substantive interactions since the Prime Minister's visit to Washington in September 2014. They appreciated the focused action and accomplishments by both sides on the decisions taken during the Summit in September and in this regard, they welcomed:
-The 30 September 2014 signing of an implementing agreement between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to conduct the joint NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission.
-The convening of the Defence Policy Group and its subgroups on 28-29 October 2014 to pursue stronger and expanded bilateral defence cooperation.
-India’s ongoing facilitation of U.S. Department of Defense humanitarian missions in India, including a mission in October and November 2014, to recover the remains of fallen U.S. soldiers who served in World War II.
-The signing of the India-U.S. Statement of Guiding Principles on Triangular Cooperation for Global Development on 3 November 2014, in furtherance of bilateral efforts to advance sustainable development in cooperation with partner countries around the world.
-The breakthrough between India and the United States on issues relating to the implementation of the Bali Ministerial Decisions regarding public stockholding for food security purposes, the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, and post Bali work.
-Convening of the U.S.-India Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation in New Delhi on 17 November 2014 to review, exchange views, and advance cooperation in diverse areas of science and technology and foster engagement in techno-entrepreneurship and innovation partnership for mutual benefit.
-Convening of the India-U.S. Higher Education Dialogue in New Delhi on 17 November 2014 to further bilateral cooperation in this field, strengthen partnerships between Indian and U.S. universities and community colleges, improve student and scholar mobility, and promote faculty collaboration.
-The signing of the MoU on 18 November 2014 between Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. and the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which would make available up to $1 billion in financing to facilitate expanded cooperation and enhance U.S. private sector investment in Indian clean energy projects.
-Successful hosting of the bilateral India-U.S. Technology Summit on 18-19 November 2014 with the U.S. as a partner country for the first time.
-Convening of the High Technology Cooperation Group on 20-21 November 2014 to shape a cooperative agenda on high technology goods, including export control-related trade in homeland security technologies, high technology manufacturing equipment including machine tools, defence trade, and fostering collaboration in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and health-related information technology.
-Convening of the Smart Cities Conclave on 22 November 2014 organised by the U.S.-India Business Council in cooperation with the Ministry of Urban Development and the Mayors and Commissioners of Ajmer (Rajasthan), Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) and Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and the decision by the Government of India to constitute a high-level committee for each of the three Smart Cities comprising different departments of the Central Government, the state governments, local governments, and representatives of the U.S. industry.
-Signing of three MoUs between the State Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency on 25 January 2015 to develop Vishakhapatnam, Allahabad, and Ajmer as Smart Cities with the participation of U.S. industry, in furtherance of the commitment made by the Leaders in September 2014.
-The convening of the Trade Policy Forum at the Ministerial level on 24-25 November 2014, in which India and the United States agreed to work towards resolving commercial impediments in both markets, to help realize the potential of bilateral trade in goods and services, and to promote investment and manufacturing.
-Convening of the India-U.S. Political Military Dialogue on 4 December 2014 to exchange perspectives on bilateral strategic and regional issues.
-Convening the sixth round of the India-U.S.-Japan trilateral discussions on 20 December 2014 to deepen regional engagement and to discuss ways to implement projects on the ground.
-The launch of the Infrastructure Collaboration Platform in New Delhi on 13 January 2015 to promote enhanced market access and financing to increase U.S. industry participation in the growth and development of sectors that support Indian infrastructure.
-The 12-15 January 2015 expert exchange on Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) strategies and technologies and completion of a Joint Statement of Intent and a work plan for a programme of bilateral C-IED cooperation.
-The signing of a framework on and inauguration of the India-U.S. Investment Initiative in Washington on 12-15 January 2015 to jointly cooperate on facilitating capital market development conducive to financing investment; creating an environment that encourages investment in various sectors in India; and working to overcome any obstacles to such investment.
-The convening of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Working Group in Washington on 14-15 January 2015 and the 23 January signing of the Joint Declaration of Intent to advance implementation of the Digital India programme and further bilateral commercial ICT cooperation.
-Launching of a Knowledge Partnership in defence studies expressing a shared desire to pursue collaborative activities between the United States and Indian National Defence Universities.
-Signing of the Statement of Cooperation for Supervisory Cooperation and Exchange of Supervisory Information between the Reserve Bank of India and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Federal Reserve System, and Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC).
-Convening of Indian and U.S. CEOs who are committed to deepening bilateral economic ties by identifying current impediments to trade and investment and working with the two government to find solutions; and identifying emerging sectors where public-private partnership can unlock new collaborations between our two peoples.
-The 13 January 2015 signing of the MoU between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Urban Development to enable USAID to share expertise, best practices, innovation and technologies in support of India's efforts to strengthen water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in urban areas.
-India’s recent introduction of visa-on-arrival for U.S. citizens and the convening of the first technical discussions to advance India’s membership in the United States’ Global Entry Program, initiatives aimed at easing travel between India and the United States to further strengthen people-to-people ties.
-Cooperation on scientific research collaboration on the Indian Monsoon Rainfall currently underway aboard the U.S. research vessel JOIDES Resolution in the Bay of Bengal.
-The conclusion of the first of two project annexes between the Indian Department of Atomic Energy–Department of Science and Technology and the U.S. Department of Energy, which will enable discovery science cooperation in particle accelerator and high energy physics.
-The 22 January signing of the MoU between the U.S. Department of Treasury and India’s Ministry of Finance to enhance cooperation to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.The Completion of an MoU between the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research, All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences, and the U.S National Institute of Health and National Cancer Institute.
-The 23 January signing of the Joint Declaration of Intent between USAID and the Ministry of Human Resource Development for technical support to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), starting with IIT Gandhinagar, to strengthen research and entrepreneurship capabilities.
-The recent finalization of the 2015 Framework for the U.S.-India Defense Relationship, which will guide and expand the bilateral defence and strategic partnership over the next ten years.
-The 22 January signing of the India-U.S. Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation (RDT&E) Agreement to facilitate cooperation in defence research and development.
-Continuing bilateral engagement on the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), including the 22 January 2015 agreement in principle to pursue co-production and co-development of four pathfinder projects, form a working group to explore aircraft carrier technology sharing and design, and explore possible cooperation on development of jet engine technology.
6. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama jointly appreciated the significant efforts undertaken by both sides in recent months to re-energize the strategic partnership, and affirmed expanding the substantive underpinnings of our diversified bilateral strategic partnership including through expanded strategic consultations, stronger defence, security, and economic cooperation.
7. President Obama also reiterated his support for Prime Minister Modi's vision to transform India, and recognized that India's focus on its development priorities presented substantial opportunities for forging stronger India-U.S. economic ties and greater people-to-people contacts. Reaffirming that India’s rise is also in the interest of the United States, regional and global stability, and global economic growth, President Obama reiterated the United States' readiness to partner with India in this transformation. The two leaders pledged to translate their commitment of "Chalein Saath Saath”: "Forward Together We Go" of September into action through "Sanjha Prayaas; Sab Ka Vikaas": "Shared Effort; Progress For All".
Economic Growth
8. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama expressed confidence that continued bilateral collaboration will increase opportunities for investment, improve bilateral trade and investment ties and lead to the creation of jobs and prosperity in both economies. In this regard, the Leaders agreed to continue to strengthen their broad-based partnership for development through stronger trade, technology, manufacturing, and investment linkages between the two countries and triangular cooperation with partner countries, and that continued efforts to maintain labor standards as per domestic law and agreed international norms will make these linkages more durable. The two sides also committed to continuing to cooperate on the finalization of the Post-Bali Work Programme in the spirit of the Doha mandate.
9. The President and the Prime Minister affirmed their shared commitment to facilitating increased bilateral investment flows and fostering an open and predictable climate for investment. To this end, the Leaders instructed their officials to assess the prospects for moving forward with high-standard bilateral investment treaty discussions given their respective approaches.
10. The President and the Prime Minister also welcomed the fifth annual U.S.-India Economic and Financial Partnership Dialogue in February, in which the countries will deepen their dialogue on macroeconomic policy, financial sector regulation and development, infrastructure investment, tax policy, and efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
11. The two sides agreed to hold a discussion on the elements required in both countries to pursue an India-U.S. Totalisation Agreement.
12. President Obama commended Prime Minister Modi’s "Jan Dhan” scheme to prioritize financial inclusion for India’s poor. The Leaders noted India’s intent to join the Better Than Cash Alliance.
13. The Leaders committed to explore areas of collaboration in skill development ranging from establishing quality assurance systems for skilling certification standards, setting up of skill development centres, nurturing and promoting social entrepreneurship and strengthening the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.
14. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi agreed to collaborate in the implementation of India's ambitious Digital India programme and expand commercial cooperation, including by encouraging investment engagement in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
15. In recognition of the importance of their ongoing commercial discussions, the two sides agreed to hold public-private discussions in early 2015 under the aegis of the India-U.S. Commercial Dialogue for a period of two years, until March 2016, on mutually agreed areas of cooperation.
16. Recognizing the progress made in constructive engagement on Intellectual Property under the last round of the India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum held in November, 2014, the Leaders also looked forward to enhancing engagement on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in 2015 under the High Level Working Group on Intellectual Property, to the mutual benefit of both the countries.
17. Acknowledging the potential for technological cooperation in the rail sector in augmenting and optimizing India's rail infrastructure, the Leaders agreed to facilitate U.S. Trade and Development Agency and Indian Railways technical cooperation that will assist Indian Railways’ efforts to modify its leasing and public-private partnership frameworks to attract private sector funding.
18. The Leaders recognized the robust public-private U.S.-India civil aviation partnership and agreed to continue working together to identify emerging technologies and build a larger commercial engagement agenda through key events such as the 2015 U.S.-India Aviation Summit and demonstration of advanced U.S. technologies.
19. Reaffirming their commitment to safety and security of civil aviation, the United States and India will continue consultations between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the India Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to ensure international safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), with the aim of restoring Category I status at the earliest possible time.
20. Noting the importance of ongoing cooperation in higher education, the President and Prime Minister welcomed ongoing efforts to extend a knowledge partnership for supporting the Indian Institute of Technology at Gandhinagar through USAID. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi also pledged to collaborate through India's Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN), to facilitate short-term teaching and research programs by up to 1000 visiting U.S. academics in Indian universities.
21. The Leaders emphasized the importance of strengthening international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund. The President also affirmed his commitment to enhancing India's voice and vote in international Financial Institutions and ensuring that resources are made available and used creatively through multilateral development banks for infrastructure financing. Prime Minister Modi appreciated the efforts of the U.S. Treasury for cooperating with the Ministry of Finance on the Task Force on Resolution Corporation set up in pursuance of the recommendations of the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission.
High Technology, Space and Health Cooperation
22. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama reaffirmed their commitment to ensure that partnerships in science, technology and innovation are a crucial component of the overall bilateral engagement in the 21st century. They also reaffirmed their support for the role that science, technology and innovation partnerships can play in addressing pressing challenges in areas such as food, water, energy, climate, and health and developing innovative solutions that are affordable, accessible and adaptable, meet the needs of the people of the two countries and benefit the global community. To this end, the Leaders agreed to continue to develop cooperative efforts in many areas of science, technology, and innovation, including studying the impacts of water, air pollution, sanitation and hygiene on human health and well-being.
23. The Leaders also agreed to continue U.S.-India collaboration in hydrology and water studies and monsoon modelling and noted the need to expeditiously work towards launching an Indo-U.S. Climate Fellowship to facilitate human capacity building. The Prime Minister and the President also reaffirmed the importance of ongoing efforts to strengthen women's participation in science, technology, engineering, and math through networking and mentoring programs.
24. The President and the Prime Minister welcome efforts, under the bilateral High Technology Cooperation Group, to seek timely resolution of the challenges to trade in High Technology goods, including the U.S. licensing requirements for trade in certain dual use items.
25. The Leaders reaffirmed the importance of providing transparent and predictable policy environments for fostering innovation. Both countries reiterated their interest in sharing information and best practices on IPR issues, and reaffirmed their commitment to stakeholders’ consultations on policy matters concerning intellectual property protection.
26. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi agreed to further promote cooperative and commercial relations between India and the United States in the field of space. The leaders noted the on-going interactions between their space agencies, including towards realizing a dual frequency radar imaging satellite for Earth Sciences, and exploring possibilities for cooperation in studying Mars.
27. The Leaders took note of ongoing U.S.-India space cooperation, including the first face-to-face meeting of the ISRO-NASA Mars Working Group from 29-31 January 2015 in Bangalore, in which the two sides will consider opportunities for enhanced cooperation in Mars exploration, including potential coordinated observations and analysis between ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission and NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission (MAVEN). The Prime Minister and the President also welcomed continued progress toward enhanced space cooperation via the U.S.-India Civil Space Joint Working Group, which will meet later this year in India.
28. Under the umbrella of an implementing agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Department of Atomic Energy of India, the Leaders welcomed expanded collaboration in basic physics research, and accelerator research and development.
29. The Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and announced specific actions at home and abroad to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including a CDC-Ministry of Health Ebola and GHSA preparedness training, expansion of the India Epidemic Intelligence Service, and development of a roadmap to achieve the objectives of the GHSA within three years.
30. The Leaders also committed to multi-sectoral actions countering the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and cooperation in training of health workers in preparedness for infectious disease threats. The Leaders agreed to focus science and technology partnerships on countering antibiotic resistant bacteria and promoting the availability, efficacy and quality of therapeutics.
31. The Leaders welcomed further progress in promoting bilateral cooperation on cancer research, prevention, control, and management and agreed to continue to strengthen the engagement between the CDC and India’s National Centre for Disease Control.
32. The President and Prime Minister also welcomed the upcoming completion of an Environmental Health, Occupational Health and Injury Prevention and Control MoU between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Indian Council for Medical Research to further collaborative efforts to improve the health and welfare of both countries’ citizens.
33. The Prime Minister and the President also agreed to expand the India-U.S. Health Initiative into a Healthcare Dialogue with relevant stakeholders to further strengthen bilateral collaboration in health sectors including through capacity building initiatives and by exploring new areas, including affordable healthcare, cost saving mechanisms, distribution barriers, patent quality, health services information technology, and complementary and traditional medicine. The President and the Prime Minister pledged to encourage dialogue between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Indian counterparts on traditional medicine. The Leaders also pledged to strengthen collaboration, dialogue, and cooperation between the regulatory authorities of the two countries to ensure safety, efficacy, and quality of pharmaceuticals, including generic medicines.
34. The Leaders also agreed to accelerate joint leadership of the global Call to Action to end preventable deaths among mothers and children through a third meeting of the 24 participating countries in India in June 2015. As host, India will showcase the power of new partnerships, innovations and systems to more effectively deliver life-saving interventions. They also lauded the highly successful collaboration on a locally produced vaccine against rotavirus which will save the lives of an estimated 80,000 children each year in India alone, and pledged to strengthen the cooperation in health research and capacity building through a new phase of the India-U.S. Vaccine Action Programme.
Defence and Homeland Security Cooperation
35. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama welcomed the efforts made by both sides to expand bilateral defence cooperation in areas of mutual interest and reaffirmed their commitment to continue to work towards deepening the bilateral defence relationship. The Leaders acknowledged bilateral military ties as the foundation of the defense relationship and encouraged their respective militaries to pursue additional opportunities for engagement through exercises, military personnel exchanges, and defense dialogues.
36. The Leaders also acknowledged the need for the two-way defence engagement to include technology cooperation and collaboration, co-production and co-development. To this end, the President and the Prime Minister emphasized the ongoing importance of the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) in developing new areas of technology cooperation in the defence sector including through co-development and co-production and the Prime Minister welcomed the U.S. Defense Department’s establishment of a dedicated rapid reaction team focused exclusively on advancing DTTI. The Leaders expressed confidence that continued DTTI collaboration will yield additional joint projects in the near future.
37. The President also welcomed the Prime Minister's initiatives to liberalize the Foreign Direct Investment Policy regime in the defence sector and the Leaders agreed to cooperate on India's efforts to establish a defence industrial base in India, including through initiatives like 'Make in India.'
38. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama expressed satisfaction over the efforts made by both countries to deepen cooperation in the field of maritime security, as reflected in the 2015 Framework for the U.S.-India Defense Relationship. To this end, they agreed that the navies of both sides would continue discussions to identify specific areas for expanding maritime cooperation. They also reiterated their commitment to upgrading their bilateral naval exercise MALABAR.
39. The two sides also noted the growing cooperation between their law enforcement agencies, particularly in the areas of extradition and mutual legal assistance, to counter transnational criminal threats such as terrorism, narcotics, trafficking, financial and economic fraud, cybercrime, and transnational organized crime and pledged to enhance such cooperation further. The President and the Prime Minister also noted the serious risks to national and economic security from malicious cyber activity and agreed to cooperate on enhancing operational sharing of cyber threat information, examining how international law applies in cyberspace, and working together to build agreement on norms of responsible state behavior.
40. The Leaders committed to undertake efforts to make the U.S.-India partnership a defining counterterrorism relationship for the 21st Century by deepening collaboration to combat the full spectrum of terrorist threats and keep their respective homelands and citizens safe from attacks. The Leaders reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations with ‘zero tolerance’ and reaffirmed their deep concern over the continued threat posed by transnational terrorism including by groups like Al Qaida and the ISIL, and called for eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and their financing, and stopping cross-border movement of terrorists.
41. The Leaders reaffirmed the need for joint and concerted efforts to disrupt entities such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, D Company and the Haqqani Network, and agreed to continue ongoing efforts through the Homeland Security Dialogue as well as the next round of the U.S.-India Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism in late 2015 to develop actionable elements of bilateral engagement. The two sides noted the recent U.S. sanctions against three D Company affiliates. The President and the Prime Minister further agreed to continue to work toward an agreement to share information on known and suspected terrorists. They also agreed to enter discussions to deepen collaboration on UN terrorist designations, and reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai to justice.
42. The President and the Prime Minister also noted the positive cooperative engagement between the Indian and the U.S. authorities with a view to working together to counter the threat of IEDs and to develop counterterrorism best practices.
Energy and Climate Change
43. Noting that the Contact Group set up in September 2014 to advance implementation of bilateral civil nuclear cooperation has met three times in December and January, the Leaders welcomed the understandings reached on the issues of civil nuclear liability and administrative arrangements for civil nuclear cooperation, and looked forward to U.S.-built nuclear reactors contributing to India’s energy security at the earliest.
Clean Energy Goal and Cooperation
44. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi emphasized the critical importance of expanding clean energy research, development, manufacturing and deployment, which increases energy access and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The leaders announced actions to advance India's transition to low carbon economy. India intends to increase the share of use of renewable in electricity generation consistent with its intended goal to increase India's solar target to 100 gigawatts by 2022. The United States intends to support India's goal by enhancing cooperation on clean energy and climate change, to include:
i. Expanding Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Research (PACE-R): A renewed commitment to PACE-R, including extending funding for three existing research tracks of solar energy, building energy efficiency, and biofuels for an additional five years and launching a new track on smart grid and grid storage.
ii. Expanding Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Deployment (PACE-D): Both the countries intended to expand our current Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Deployment (PACE-D) through increased bilateral engagements and further joint initiatives to expand cooperation in support of India’s ambitious targets in renewable energy.
iii. Accelerating Clean Energy Finance: Prime Minister Modi emphasized India's ongoing efforts to create a market environment that will promote trade and investment in this sector. President Obama welcomed India's ambitious solar energy goals and encouraged India to continue its efforts to increase trade and private investment in this sector. President Obama conveyed the potential availability of U.S. Government official financing in this area, consistent with its policies, to support private sector involvement for those entities in contributing to India’s clean energy requirements.
iv. Launching Air Quality Cooperation: Implementing EPA’s AIR Now-International Program and megacities partnerships, focused on disseminating information to help the urban dwellers to reduce their exposure to harmful levels of air pollution, and enable urban policy planners to implement corrective strategies for improving Ambient Air Quality in the cities keeping in view health and climate change co-benefits of these strategies.
v. Initiating Climate Resilience Tool Development: Jointly undertaking a partnership on climate resilience that will work to downscale international climate models for the Indian sub-continent to much higher resolution than currently available, assess climate risks at the sub-national level, work with local technical institutes on capacity building, and engage local decision-makers in the process of addressing climate information needs and informing planning and climate resilient sustainable development, including for India’s State Action Plans.
vi. Demonstrating Clean Energy and Climate Initiatives on the Ground: Additional pilot programs and other collaborative projects in the areas of space cooling, super-efficient appliances, renewable energy storage, and smart grids.
vii. Concluding MOU on Energy Security, Clean Energy and Climate Change: Both countries concluded negotiations on a five year MOU to carry this work forward, to be signed as early as possible at a mutually agreed upon date.
Climate Change
45. The United States of America and the Republic of India recognize that global climate change is a profound threat to humanity and to the imperatives of sustainable development, growth and the eradication of poverty. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi share a deep concern regarding the climate challenge and understand that meeting it will require concerted action by their countries and the international community. They stressed the importance of enhancing their bilateral cooperation on adaptation measures, as well as joint research and development and technology innovation, adoption and diffusion for clean energy and efficiency solutions that will help achieve the goals of transitioning to a climate resilient and low carbon economy. They also stressed the importance of working together and with other countries to conclude an ambitious climate agreement in Paris in 2015. To this end, they plan to cooperate closely over the next year to achieve a successful agreement in Paris. The President and Prime Minister reaffirmed their prior understanding from September 2014 concerning the phase down of HFCs and agreed to cooperate on making concrete progress in the Montreal Protocol this year.
Global Issues and Regional Consultations
46. The Leaders agreed to expand their efforts to assist other developing countries and address global development challenges for the benefit of the wider region and the world and they lauded ongoing triangular assistance, which may involve U.S.-India collaboration to address development challenges in third countries in areas including health, energy, food security, disaster management, and women’s empowerment. The two sides noted that this collaboration, which is active with Afghanistan, East and West Africa, may be expanded to additional third countries.
47. Further underscoring the importance of implementing infrastructure projects to enhance connectivity and enable freer flow of commerce and energy in the region, the Leaders agreed to develop additional areas in which both sides could work together, including on India's initiatives to enhance its connectivity with the South and South East Asian region. The President and the Prime Minister also stressed the importance of the economic and transport connectivity between Central and South Asia and the need to promote a secure, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan as part of a secure, stable, and prosperous region. Reaffirming the importance of their strategic partnerships with Afghanistan, the Leaders asserted the importance of a sustainable, inclusive, sovereign, and democratic political order in Afghanistan and they agreed to convene further high-level consultations on Afghanistan in the near future.
48. The President and the Prime Minister also welcomed the role of the leaders- led East Asia Summit (EAS) process in promoting open, balanced and inclusive security architecture in the region. Noting the discussions in the sixth round of the India-US-Japan Trilateral Dialogue, the President and the Prime Minister underlined the importance of the cooperation between the three countries through identification of projects of common interest and their early implementation, and they decided to explore holding the dialogue among their Foreign Ministers.
49. The President and Prime Minister pledged to strengthen their efforts to forge a partnership to lead global efforts for non-proliferation of WMDs, to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs, and to promote universal, verifiable and non-discriminatory global nuclear disarmament. They supported negotiations on a fissile material cut-off Treaty on the basis of the Shannon Mandate in the Conference on Disarmament.
50. As active participants in the Nuclear Security Summit process, the United States and India welcomed progress towards reducing the risk of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons or related materials, and noted their shared commitment to improving nuclear security nationally and globally. The Prime Minister welcomed the hosting of the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit by the United States. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi also welcomed the recent convening of the first bilateral nuclear security best practices exchange, under the auspices of the Global Center for Nuclear Energy Partnership, as an example of their cooperation on nuclear security.
51. In a further effort to strengthen global nonproliferation and export control regimes, the President and the Prime Minister committed to continue to work towards India’s phased entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group. The President reaffirmed the United States’ position that India meets MTCR requirements and is ready for NSG membership and that it supports India’s early application and eventual membership in all four regimes.
52. The Leaders expressed concern over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, including its uranium enrichment activity. They urged the DPRK to take concrete steps toward denuclearization, as well as to comply fully with its international obligations, including relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, and to fulfill its commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party talks.
53. The Leaders welcomed recent progress and noted the criticality of Iran taking steps to verifiably assure the international community of the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme, and agreed that this is an historic opportunity for Iran to resolve outstanding concerns related to its nuclear programme.
54. Highlighting the United States' and India’s shared democratic values and recognizing the important role of women in their societies, the Leaders looked forward to reconvening the Women Empowerment Dialogue as early as possible and reasserted their zero tolerance for violence against women. The Leaders also looked forward to the reconvening of the Global Issues Forum.
55. The President and the Prime Minister also reaffirmed their commitment to consult closely on global crises, including in Iraq and Syria. The Leaders agreed to exchange information on individuals returning from these conflict zones and to continue to cooperate in protecting and responding to the needs of civilians caught up in these conflicts.
56. President Obama reaffirmed his support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member, and both leaders committed to ensuring that the Security Council continues to play an effective role in maintaining international peace and security as envisioned in the United Nations Charter. They also committed to accelerate their peacekeeping capacity-building efforts in third countries.
57. Both sides also acknowledged that the Internet was a central element of the information society and a powerful enabler of global economic and social progress. Both sides also noted that the growth of the Internet in the coming decade would be from developing countries, of which India would be a significant contributor, especially in the context of its "Digital India" programme.
58. The Leaders recognized that a digital divide persists between and within countries in terms of the availability, affordability and use of information and communications technologies, and they stressed the need to continue to bridge that divide, to ensure that the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications technologies for development, are available to all people, including the poorest of the poor.
59. President Obama thanked Prime Minister Modi and the people of India for the extraordinary hospitality extended to him on his second presidential visit to India, and he congratulated the nation on the celebration of its 66th Republic Day. The Leaders reflected proudly on recent achievements and looked forward to continuing to work together to build a U.S.-India partnership that is transformative for their two peoples and for the world.

Why Prime Minister must raise issue of Dow’s liability for Bhopal disaster with the US President

Written By Gopal Krishna on Saturday, January 24, 2015 | 8:15 AM


Madhya Pradesh Govt must make Justice S L Kochar inquiry commission’s report on Bhopal disaster public

Next date of hearing in Dow’s case on March 14 in Bhopal Court

Dow set aside $2.2 billion for UCC’s asbestos-related liabilities but denies liability for Bhopal disaster

Now that Barack Obama, President of USA will be in New Delhi as chief guest on the Republic Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi must raise the issue of accountability of Dow Chemicals Company the way Obama did in the case of British Petroleum (BP) oil spill in Gulf of Mexico in 2010. In this case the oil major had to pay a USD 20 billion as fine and for the cleanup. He must raise the issue of fugitive corporations Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) and UCC Kowloon’s successor which are absconding from Indian law. They are Dow’s subsidiary corporations. Obama’s intervention can ensure that they are made appear in the Indian court. The US District Court had subjected them to Indian jurisdiction.

Obama must be told about the double standards adopted by Dow which has set aside $2.2 billion to address future asbestos-related liabilities arising out of the UCC’s acquisition. Dow which purchased UCC and its Indian investments is denying inheriting any liability for the Bhopal disaster.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh High Court has held UCC’s parent company, Dow Chemicals Company worth $58 billion responsible for the clean-up of the contaminated site in an ongoing case. On August 4, 2014, a Bhopal district court issued its third criminal summons to Dow directing it to appear before it on November 12, 2014 but it did not do so. The next date of hearing is on March 14, 2015.

The concluding paragraph of the judgment on the Bhopal Gas Disaster in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh (MP), dated June 7, 2010 reads: “Mr. Warren Anderson, UCC USA and UCC Kowloon Hongkong are still absconding and therefore, every part of this case (Criminal File) is kept intact alongwith the exhibited and unexhibited documents and the property related to this case, in safe custody, till their appearance.” Warren Anderson’s death does not end the criminal case against UCC, USA and UCC Kowloon, Hongkong (and its successor company).

At this critical moment Madhya Pradesh Government must make the report of Justice S L Kochar inquiry commission public. The commission was constituted to inquire into the reasons for Bhopal gas tragedy in 2010. It visited the UCCs factory premises in August 2014 and asked the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board to give a fresh special report on the toxicity situation on the factory premises. The Commission was set up after the June 7, 2010. Some four years passed but the Commission’s report is yet to see the light of the day. In the meantime, Madhya Pradesh High Court’s division bench of Chief Justice Ajay Khanvilkar and Justice Vandana Kasrekar admitted a petition on November 20, 2014 demanding that the report of Justice Kochar commission be made public.

It is germane to recollect that Wikileaks disclosed the help of Henry Kissinger as US National Security Advisor (NSA) in setting up of Bhopal plant. The email leak of US deputy NSA, Michael Froman dated July 30, 2010 disclosed how Government of USA warned “noise about the Dow Chemicals issue” could “put a chilling effect on the investment relationship" in response to India seeking US support in World Bank. The previous government seems to have caved in to such uncalled for arm twisting. The issue of liability of Dow Chemicals Company for UCC’s responsibility for the ongoing disaster in Bhopal would be a litmus test for the Modi government.

Notably, Prime Minister Modi met US President for official talks on September 30, 2014 in USA immediately after UCC’s former CEO Anderson’s death. The disclosure of news of death could have overshadowed the meeting between Obama, Modi and eleven heads of US corporations.

When J F Keenan, District Judge of the District Court of USA pronounced his verdict on June 26, 2012 in the case of Janki Bai Sahu, et al Vs UCC and Anderson, he rubbed salt to the wounds of the victims. The judge in question revealed his insensitivity for the third time by referring to victims' quest for justice as "a discovery expedition worthy of Vasco da Gama." US judiciary’s indefensible approach towards the victims of industrial disaster in India, gives a sense of déjà vu.

The US Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule on July 12, 1989, banning most asbestos-containing products. US EPA's grounds for the ban stated "asbestos is a human carcinogen and is one of the most hazardous substances to which humans are exposed in both occupational and non-occupational settings.”  But the Fifth Circuit US Court of Appeals of New Orleans overturned the ban imposed by USPEA on October 18, 1991. Giving a severe blow to the reputation of US judiciary, more than 50 countries have found that USEPA was right. 

On UCC/Dow’s liability, Prof. Michael Addo, Chair, UN Working Group on Business & Human Rights said, "The Bhopal question is not a surprise. It was a deliberate decision to bring the issue to learn from it. But I don't know where it will land" at the recent 3rd UN Forum on Business and Human Rights.

Prime Minister Modi may have been kept in dark about the death of Anderson, when he was in US last time. But now the Prime Minister cannot say he did not know about Dow’s liability. Unless he seeks reverse the previous government’s approach of playing second fiddle, India will remain a subordinate ally and not an equal partner. 

Modi government must not miss the opportunity of giving a clear message to the transnational corporations that they cannot get away with corporate massacres and subversion of judicial process.     
About 30 years before his death on September 29, 2014, Anderson, the supreme authority for Bhopal based plant was arrested at 2 PM on December 7, 1984 in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He was released on a Bail Bond dated December 7, 1984 that reads:  “I, Warren M Anderson s/o John Martin Anderson am resident of 63/54 Greenidge Hills Drive, Greenidge, Connecticut, USA. I am the Chairman of Union Carbide Corporation, America. I have been arrested by Hanumanganj Police Station, District Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India under Criminal Sections 304 A, 304, 120 B, 278, 429, 426 & 92. I am signing this bond for Rs. 25,000/- and thus undertaking to be present whenever and wherever I am directed to be present by the police or the Court.

US Government ensured that Anderson did not appear in the Indian court to face trial although Anderson personified corporate crime but his death does not end the quest for justice. The case against UCC, USA and UCC Kowloon, Hong Kong is intact. Obama must be persuaded to ensure that they are made liable and accountable for their acts of omission and commission else democratic governments will become subservient to corporations.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 08227816731, 0981808966
0, E-mail:gopalkrishna1715@gmail.com, Web: www.toxicswatch.org

Letter to Danish Prime Minister on Violation of Basel Convention and entry of Danish end-of-life toxic ship Clipper Concord in Indian waters

Written By Gopal Krishna on Sunday, December 28, 2014 | 1:56 AM



To

Ms Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Hon’ble Prime Minister
Government of Denmark
Copenhagen

December 28, 2014

Subject- Violation of Basel Convention and entry of Danish end-of-life toxic ship Clipper Concord in Indian waters
Madam,
With reference to the transfer of harmful Danish end-of-life toxic ship Clipper Concord (IMO No. 9232319) from Denmark to Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India in last week of December 2014, violation of UN’s Basel Convention on the control of transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and their disposal, inquiries by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the office of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and hazardous substances and wastes and the letter dated 15 April, 2005 of Ms Connie Hedegaard (letter No. J-3034-0036) as the Denmark's environment minister wrote to her Indian counterpart. The news about ship’s movement has been published in Danish media (Ekstra Bladet) and Indian media (DNA and Divya Bhaskar). The same is attached for your perusal and consideration.

I am aware that you are likely to visit Gujarat, India for the 7th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit-2015 during 11th to 13th January 2015 along with dignitaries like Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General, UNO, your intervention in banning movement of such Danish ships to Indian waters will be deemed quite significant from the point of view of environmental protection and safety of vulnerable migrant workers on Alang beach.

I submit that the movement of the ship in question is violation of UN’s Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal to which both Denmark and India are parties. It is also in violation of relevant European law by which it is governed. The letter dated 15 April, 2005 authored by Ms Connie Hedegaard, the then Denmark's environment minister to her Indian counterpart about the illegal movement of a 51 year-old asbestos laden ship, Kong Fredrick IX (renamed RIKY) underlines it. She wrote, “"I believe our interests are joint - and I call on you to co-operate in this case by denying the ship to be dismantled in India - and refer the ship to return to Denmark to be stripped of the hazardous waste." Her letter is still relevant for your government and a similar action by you can demonstrate your sensitivity towards environmental and workers safety concerns.

I submit that due to the fact that Denmark considered the RIKY to be a waste and a hazardous
Waste, it cannot change its position in the matter of Danish ship in question with IMO No. 9232319. If this were not the case, then any country could suddenly make a claim that they do not consider a waste to be a waste, leaving the other states concerned exposed and vulnerable to trade. Basel Convention is precautionary to avoid this type of victimization. This is clearly the intent of Article 1.1.b of the Convention. It is not possible for one country to consider wastes as non-wastes or hazardous wastes as non-hazardous wastes if one of the States Concerned (exporting, transit or importing state) considers it as a hazardous waste under their own law.

I submit that the case of Danish ship in question with IMO No. 9232319 that has arrived in Bhavnagar waters, Gujarat, India is not an isolated case. Danish shipping companies and subsidiaries have sent several ships to be scrapped on the Alang beach in India over the past four years. These end-of-life toxic ships include:
  • Blue Line International, BLI Management sent the two ships Split 1700 in 2010 and Ancona in 2011 to be scrapped in Alang, Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India.
  • Container Leasing A/S sent the two ships CS Christine in 2012 and CS Giotte in 2013 to be scrapped in Alang.
  • CS Partners A/S sent SEA Corona to be scrapped in Alang in 2009.
  • Dania Marine ApS sent Sujin to be scrapped in Alang in 2013 and 
  • Philip to be scrapped in Mumbai, India in 2012.
  • Dannebrog Rederi sent Naesborg (2011), Marienborg (2012) and SIAM Project (2011) and Aalborg (2013) to be all scrapped in Alang. 
  • Nordana Line A/S sent NORD Scan Mumbai to be scrapped in 2011 in Alang.
  • Dansk Investeringsfond DIFKO dispatched Power II to Alang.
  • Hansen og Lange I/S sent Selma to be scrapped in Alang in 2013.
  • Seaflex A/S sent Burgos to be scrapped in Alang in 2010.
  • Transland Invest ApS sent ACE IV to be scrapped in Alang in 2012. This list has been compiled by Brussels-based NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
I have learnt that since 2006 it has been forbidden to sail ships under Danish flags to the ship breaking yards in India, but the Danish companies are exploiting a complicit legal regime because they own many ships that are not registered in Denmark. The European shipping companies do not register their ships in EU nations.

I submit that the movement of this Danish ship under the flag of Bahamas is an attempt to outwit the existing international and European and Indian laws.
I submit that the reference made by the Danish ship owner regarding applicability of International Maritime Organisation (IMO)'s Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships is quite misleading because this Convention is yet to be ratified and come into force. As of now only Basel Convention and its equivalent European laws are applicable to the ship in question.   

I submit that the following text of the Decision VII/26 of the Parties of the Basel Convention is quite relevant:  
“Recognizing that many ships and other floating structures are known to contain hazardous
materials and that such hazardous materials may become hazardous wastes as listed in the
annexes to the Basel Convention,”

I submit that the Decisions of the Parties are at the highest legal level, next to the text of the treaty itself.

I submit that the ship in question is owned by Mr Christian Stadil, a Danish businessman who preaches a good deal about ethics in business but is apparently involved in unethical act of increasing the toxic burden on Alang’s ecosystem, migrant workers of the Gujarat’s shipbreaking industry and adjoining village communities.

I submit that judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India dated October 14, 2003 (reiterated in 2007 and 2012) which calls for prior decontamination of the ship in the country of export.

I submit that the movement of such harmful toxic ships ignores Polluter Pays/Producer Responsibility Principle, Environmental Justice Principle, Waste Prevention/Substitution Principles and Principle of National Self Sufficiency in Waste Management.

I submit that the movement of such Danish ships tantamount to grant of legal recognition to externalization of the real costs and liabilities of ships at end-of-life by the shipping companies of Europe and other developed countries.

I submit  that the transfer of the Danish ship fails to reflect compliance with Basel Convention’s core obligation - minimisation of transboundary movements of hazardous waste, and as such will not prevent hazardous wastes such as asbestos, PCBs, old fuels, and heavymetals from being exported to the poorest communities and most desperate workers in developing countries. It fails to end the fatally flawed method of dismantling ships known as “beaching” where ships are cut open on tidal flats. This is required because on a beach it is impossible to contain oils and toxic contaminants from entering the marine environment; safely use cranes alongside ships to lift heavy cut pieces or to rescue workers; bring emergency equipment to the workers or the ships and protect the fragile coastal environmental zone from the hazardous wastes on ships. It allows hazardous substances from end-of-life ships to enter India outwitting the motive of the Basel Convention and leaving a toxic legacy for generations to come.

I submit that the Danish ship Concord (IMO No. 9232319) offers an opportunity to set matters right and undo the damage done in the case of Danish ship RIKY (ex Kong Fredrick IX).

ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) has been working on the issue of hazardous wastes and ship breaking for over decade. It is an applicant before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Technology, Environment & Forests, Parliamentary Petitions Committee, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour and relevant UN agencies besides Inter-Ministerial Committee on Ship breaking. It was the applicant before the Hon’ble Supreme Court wherein the order for creation of the Shipbreaking Code was passed. It had appeared before the Supreme Court’s Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Wastes, Court’s Technical Experts Committee on Hazardous Wastes related to Ship breaking and pursued cases involving famous ships like RIKY (Kong Frederik IX), Le Clemenceau, SS Blue Lady, Platinum II and Exxon Valdez and others.
In view of the above, I request you to put an end to the transboundary movement of such Danish ships to ensure that end-of-life ships being hazardous wastes are compliant with obligations under Basel Convention and relevant European and Indian laws. Such an action will herald a new beginning in the new year.
I will be happy to share more details in this regard.
Thanking You

Yours faithfully
Gopal Krishna
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
Mb: 08227816731, 9818089660
E-mail:gopalkrishna1715@gmail.com
Web: http://www.toxicswatch.com

Cc
Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
Ms Tatiana Terekhova, Secretariat, Basel Convention  
Secretariat of the Basel Convention, Rotterdam Convention & Stockholm Convention
Shri Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change
Shri Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Shipping
Chairman, Gujarat Maritime Board
Chairman & Members, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science,
Technology, Environment & Forests
Chairman & Members, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport
Shri A K Seth, Cabinet Secretary, Government of India
Secretary, Union Ministry of Home Affairs
Secretary, Union Ministry of Defence
Secretary, Union Ministry of Labour
Secretary, Secretary, Union Ministry of External Affairs
Director General of Shipping, Govt. of India
Dr. Alok Srivastava, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Shipping
Director General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCEI), Union
Ministry of Finance
Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Mumbai
Director, Hazardous Substances Management Division (HSMD), Union
Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change
Shri Sanjay Parikh, Lawyer, Supreme Court
Member Secretary, Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB)
Chairman, GPCB
Chairman, Gujarat Maritime Board
Collector, Bhavnagar District
Superintendent of Police, Bhavnagar District
Port Officer, Alang
 
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