News

USIS Washington File

22 October 1999

Text: Richardson's India Trip To Explore Greater Cooperation

(Progress in US-Indian relations depends on non-proliferation
dialogue) (950)

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson discussed the objectives of his
upcoming trip to India at an October 22 press conference at the
Foreign Press Center.

"The United States and India share many interests -- energy and the
environment, economic interaction, international security, fighting
terrorism and promoting democracy," Richardson said.

"These shared interests are why President Clinton plans to travel to
South Asia in the new year. We hope his trip takes U.S. Indian
relations to a new, higher level. My visit and the President's are
opportunities to explore greater cooperation in a number of areas."

Richardson, who will visit New Delhi and Varanasi October 26-28, will
discuss "areas of cooperation that the Department of Energy will
initiate or revive in the areas of climate change, renewable energy
and regional energy development."

However, he stressed, "the tone and content of my trip, and the
President's next year, hinge on the progress we make in our security
and non-proliferation dialogue."

The United States believes that it "would be in India's national
security interests" to take certain specific steps. These include:
adherence to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, constructive
engagement on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, participating in a
multilateral moratorium on fissile material production for weapons,
pending conclusion of a Cut-Off treaty, restraint in missile
development including non-deployment, and strengthened controls over
the export of nuclear material."

"Although we have heard India's intentions with respect to several of
these steps, we have been disappointed, frankly, at the lack of
concrete action to achieve them," Richardson said. "We do hope the new
government will use restraint in the nuclear area."

Following is the text of Richardson's remarks:

(begin text)

U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY BILL RICHARDSON
INDIA TRIP PREVIEW
FOREIGN PRESS CENTER
WASHINGTON, DC

October 22, 1999

Thank you for having me here today.

The United States and India share many interests -- energy and the
environment, economic interaction, international security, fighting
terrorism and promoting democracy.

These shared interests are why President Clinton plans to travel to
South Asia in the new year. We hope his trip takes U.S.-Indian
relations to a new, higher level. My visit, and the President's, are
opportunities to explore greater cooperation in a number of areas that
would be of benefit to both our countries.

My trip will include visits with top officials of the Indian
government, including the prime minister, the energy and resource
ministers and the foreign minister. I will also be meeting with Indian
business leaders and business people from the U.S. who are working in
India. And my trip will include an address on climate change to the
Confederation of Indian Industry.

With a billion people and a burgeoning use of energy, India has an
important role to play in rolling back the tide of climate change. I
will emphasize the importance of using clean energy technologies and
making use of provisions of the Kyoto Protocol that will help
developing countries cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

I will be discussing with my hosts some areas of cooperation that the
Department of Energy will initiate or revive in the areas of climate
change, renewable energy and regional energy development.

Over time, we hope to expand cooperation in this area.

I plan also to talk to Indian leaders about continued progress on
economic reform in the energy sector. India has made important strides
in opening its market to foreign investment and creating independent
regulatory structures. But with nearly 20 percent of the population
without electricity, much more can be done to create a climate where
private capital can fund increased power generation at affordable
rates. Much potential for progress exists in energy efficiency, which
will allow more public investment to shift to other needs. This is
another area in which we can cooperate productively, if we can make
progress on our non-proliferation agenda.

How far forward and how fast we move in general depends in part on
India's actions, particularly on non-proliferation issues.

The tone and content of my trip, and the President's next year --
hinge on the progress we make in our security and non-proliferation
dialogue.

While we continue to believe that India is better off without nuclear
weapons, we recognize that India feels it needs such a capability. For
this reason, we are discussing a number of concrete, near-term steps
India can take that would address our concerns and, in our view, would
be in India's national security interests. These include:

-- adherence to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty;

-- constructive engagement on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty;

-- participating in a multilateral moratorium on fissile material
production for weapons, pending conclusion of a Cut-Off treaty;

-- restraint in missile development, including non-deployment; and

-- strengthened controls over the export of nuclear material.

Although we have heard India's intentions with respect to several of
these steps, we have been disappointed, frankly, at the lack of
concrete action to achieve them. We do hope the new government will
use restraint in the nuclear area.

We are encouraged that India plans to proceed with efforts to build a
consensus for the (Comprehensive) Test Ban Treaty despite the failure
of the U.S. Senate to ratify it.

As the President has indicated, we remain philosophically committed to
the Treaty, we will not resume nuclear weapons tests, and we will
press ahead.

This setback in the Senate at least gives India an opportunity to play
a leadership role in disarmament and non-proliferation by moving
forward on the Test Ban Treaty.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State)