'Obama, Modi set the tone, up to the rest to drive relationship forward'
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India and the United States must use energy and persistence to overcome the "obstacles" towards achieving the shared objectives agreed during the "transformative" visit of American President Barack Obama to New Delhi, US Ambassador Richard Verma said in New Delhi on Thursday.

“As the President (Obama) said to me before he departed India, now the hard work will truly begin as we seek to implement this ambitious agenda and take US-India relations to a new level of collaboration," he said at a seminar at the Vivekananda International Foundation.

Talking about the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation, he said that finding common ground and reaching understanding to overcome long-standing obstacles to increased commercial engagement in this important area was significant.

These advances will provide a foundation for moving forward and fulfilling the vision of US-built reactors contributing to India's energy security and promoting prime minister Narendra Modi's goal of moving away from carbon-based energy sources and delivering electricity to the hundreds of millions of Indians who lack reliable access to it, he said.

Recalling a quote that "energy and persistence conquer all things", Verma said the phrase defines where both countries are now.

"Our leaders have set the tone... it is up to the rest of us to drive the relationship forward," he said.

He said this involves Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, teams at the MEA and the Embassy, Cabinets, bureaucracies and national security teams and they "must all bring the energy and persistence necessary to overcome the obstacles and see the possibilities before us as we march towards progress on our shared objectives".

Verma cited as an example the breakthrough achieved in the field of nuclear cooperation during Obama's visit last month.

"To ensure we continue to bring this kind of focus to the overall relationship, I personally will lead multiple working groups for the US government on implementation," he said.

"Bottom line is that both of our governments are full steam ahead towards achieving the objectives Prime Minister Modi and President Obama set out for us," he said.

During his address, the Ambassador focussed on East Asia, security, defence, counter-terrorism and Afghanistan.

Published in Rediff.com 5th February 2015