India and the United States recently issued a 50-paragraph joint statement on bilateral cooperation over various issues including nuclear regimes, reactors, security and counter-terror. Some of issues were already highlighted when President Barack Obama visited India in January 2015.
President Obama and Prime Minister Modi committed to continue to work towards India’s phased entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Wasenaar Arrangement (on export controls for conventional arms and dual-use technologies), and the Australia Group (to check proliferation of chemical and biological weapons). Obama reaffirmed the US position that India met MTCR requirements and was ready for NSG membership, and that it supported India’s early application and eventual membership in all four regimes.
Recalling their shared commitment to preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, the leaders looked forward to “India’s imminent entry” into MTCR. Obama welcomed India’s application to join NSG, and re-affirmed that India was ready for membership. The US called on NSG participating governments to support India’s application when it came up at the NSG Plenary later this month. It also re-affirmed its support for India’s early membership of the Australia Group and Wassenaar Arrangement.
Besides, India’s introduction of visa-on-arrival for US citizens and convening of technical discussions to advance India’s membership in the US Global Entry Programme are initiatives aimed at easing travel between India and the US and strengthen people-to-people ties.
The leaders applauded the strong bonds of friendship between the 1.5 billion peoples of India and the US. They resolved to facilitate greater movement of professionals, investors and business travelers, students, and exchange visitors, and welcomed the signing of MoU for Development of an International Expedited Traveler Initiative (or Global Entry Programmes) and resolved to complete within 3 months procedures for India’s entry into the programme.
The 2016 joint statement also noted the urgent need to promote healthy lifestyles, control sugar and salt intake, promote physical activity especially among children and youth, and strengthen efforts to curb tobacco use. The leaders reiterated the importance of holistic approaches to health and wellness, and of promoting the potential benefits of synergising modern and traditional systems of medicine, including yoga.