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Chronology of Major Events 2002

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Chronology of Major Events 2002
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Chronology of Major Events 2002

United States

Strategic Profile

16 January:The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, characterized President Musharraf’s speech on 12 January as a historic one and hinted that he expected India to roll back some of the diplomatic sanctions on Pakistan, at a joint press conference with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Abdul Sattar, in Islamabad.

29 January: President George W. Bush delivering his first State of the Union address to a joint session of the two houses of Congress stated that the USA would act against an ‘axis of evil’ formed by Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Bush accused the three countries of developing weapons of mass destruction and, in the case of Iraq and Iran, of harbouring and directing international terrorists.

1 February:Continuing the tough words on terrorism in his State of the Union Address on 29 January, the US President, George W. Bush, once again threatened countries that if they were deemed as backing terrorism, they would have to face justice.

14 February:In one of the clearest signals that the US’s next target could be Iraq, the US President, George Bush, asked the State Department, Pentagon and CIA to draw up plans to remove the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein.

14 February:The United States and Pakistan agreed to re- establish the Defence Consultation Group for reviving their close military relationship, the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, announced at the Pentagon after a meeting with the visiting Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, on 13 February.

9 March: Citing a classified Pentagon report, The Los Angeles Times reported that the Bush administration had told the Defence Department to prepare, on a contingency basis, plans to use nuclear weapons against at least seven countries. The military was also directed to build smaller nuclear weapons for use in certain battlefield situations, the newspaper reported.

10 March: In an apparent damage control exercise, the US while confirming reports of preparing for possible nuclear attacks against seven countries including Russia, said the new guidance gives greater emphasis to potential use against China, North Korea and several “threatening” Middle Eastern states than against Moscow.

13 March: In a landmark move, the United Nations Security Council backed the idea of a Palestinian State after the United States surprised the Council by introducing a resolution to that effect.

14 March: The President, George W. Bush, declared that the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein is a menace "and we're going to deal with him," and said Osama bin Laden — a man he once wanted dead or alive — has been reduced to a marginal figure in the war on terrorism.

2 May: The US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, and the Chinese Vice-President, Hu Jintao, on a visit to Washington, agreed to resume US-China military exercises, in cold storage since the downing of the US spy plane over South China sea and the administration’s later approval of a substantial arms package for Taiwan, which Mr. Jintao said would serve neither peace and stability nor the US-China relationship and the commitments of the two countries.

28 May: A new NATO-Russia Council came into being in Rome with Russia formally joining NATO in the presence of US President George Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

17 June: The Washington Times reported that the US President, George Bush has asked the CIA to use all necessary means to remove Mr. Saddam Hussein from power.

1 July: At the United Nations Security Council, the US exercised its veto to reject a six-month extension of the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia on the ground that American peacekeepers did not have immunity from the new Criminal Court.

13 July: A Pentagon report, submitted to Congress after it was signed by US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, has noted that China’s short-range ballistic missiles and Russian-made submarines could threaten Taiwan. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, has affirmed that the report need not cause any concern.

1 August: At the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) at Bander Seri Begawan (Brunei), the US and ASEAN signed a joint declaration for cooperation to combat international terrorism. The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, added that his country was “not looking for new bases or places at this time.”

10 August: The Bush administration, making use of the provisions of the new anti-terrorism law, has warned that the countries which become members of the newly-constituted International Criminal Court without pledging to protect Americans serving in their countries could lose all American military assistance.

6 September: In a bid to build global coalition for his plans on Iraq, US President George Bush called up the Presidents, Jacques Chirac of France, Jiang Zemin of China, and Vladimir Putin of Russia. All three had voiced deep doubts about military action against Iraq.

8 September: The US President George Bush and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, meeting at Camp David, Maryland, argued that the world must act against Mr. Saddam Hussein, for he has flouted all UN resolutions over the past 11 years.

12 September: Addressing the UN General Assembly, US President George Bush challenged the UN to confront the threat from Iraq “decisively.” Meanwhile, the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, addressing the General Assembly, argued that only the world body could authorize the use of force that goes beyond straightforward self-defence.

12 September: The US announced that it intended to rejoin the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which it left in 1984, followed by the UK and Singapore in 1985, in protest against the organization’s then allegedly anti-US and anti-Western policies. The UK rejoined in 1997.

20 September: The US National Security Adviser, Condoleeza Rice, told reporters in Washington that the US intends to keep its military superiority in the world and will not allow another Soviet Union to rise to challenge that power.

21 September: The US President George Bush outlined a new security strategy that formally discards the strategy of deterrence. In his 35-page Annual Report to the Congress, America reserves the right to strike pre-emptively against emerging threats. The report further states that the US will not hesitate to act alone if necessary.

27 September: The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington that it would be irresponsible for the US not to consider the option of pre-emption and that perhaps pre-emption should be considered “more readily than we might (have) in the past.”

1 October: The US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Christina Rocca, made an unscheduled visit to Islamabad and met the Pakistan President, General Pervez Musharraf and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Inamul Haq. They exchanged views on bilateral issues and the prevailing situation in the region. She called for a resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan to defuse tensions in the region.

2 October: The White House spokesperson, Ari Fleischer, while talking about the various forms for the ouster of the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, remarked, “the cost of one bullet is cheaper and quicker than any military action.” The White House clarified that there is no intent on the part of the Bush administration to relax the ban on assassinations in place through executive orders since 1976.

4 October: The US Under Secretary of State, John Bolton, and the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, James Kelley, after talks in Beijing and Seoul, have stated that the US and its allies will bring the maximum pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme.

5 October: The US State Department spokesperson, Richard Boucher, has observed that the Bush administration was disappointed with the testing of the Shaheen-I short-range ballistic missile by Pakistan and said that such tests further threaten regional and international security.

8 October: The US President, George Bush, in a television address from Cincinnati, Ohio, called the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, a “murderous tyrant”, who may be planning to attack the US with chemical and biological weapons and warned that any delay in acting would spell disaster.

11 October: The US Congress has approved the use of military force against Iraq with a resounding majority of 77-23, in what was seen as a major foreign and national security policy victory for President Bush.

16 October: The White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, has said that doctrines and policies have a ‘local context’ and that in the case of Iraq, it has to do with an “irrational” leader who has a history of using military force, who can acquire nuclear weapons and blackmail the world. He was responding to a question whether it would be lawful in the realm of international law for India and China to adopt the US policy on preventive attacks vis-à-vis Pakistan and Taiwan.

16 October: The US President has signed into law the Iraq resolution, which authorizes the use of force, in a ceremony in the East room of the White House.

28 October: After meeting the Chinese President, Jiang Zemin, at his ranch in Texas on 25 October, US President George Bush declared that the US would enter into “a new dialogue on security issues” while staying engaged with China “through contacts at many levels.” Mr. Jiang said that Sino-American relations should be seen from a “strategic height and with a long-term perspective.”

9 November: The US President George Bush has said that the new UN Security Council Resolution 1441 which enjoins Iraq to hand over its weapons of mass destruction before 15 November was the final test for Mr. Saddam Hussein and urged all nations to pressure the Iraqi leader to comply with the resolution.

12 November: The US President George Bush has approved a tentative plan of the Defence Department that calls for a land, sea, and air force of up to 2,00,000 troops, ready to invade Iraq, ahead of the 15 November deadline for Iraq to disarm its weapons of mass destruction.

20 November: The US Senate has passed the Homeland Security Department Legislation by a margin of 90 to 9. This paves the way for the reorganization of the Department of Defence, to form the Homeland Security Department by merging 22 federal agencies with a combined budget of $ 40 billion and a workforce of about 1,70,000.

7 December: As Iraq handed over a declaration containing details of its arms programme to the United Nations, the commander of US Central Command, Gen. Tommy Franks, arrived in Qatar to test a new mobile headquarters on the outskirts of Doha that could serve as the nerve-centre for a possible war against Iraq. Military exercises to test the capability of allied forces to launch a high-powered military campaign in the Arabian Desert would commence from this mobile headquarters from 9 December.

11 December: The Bush administration in a six-page White House document being sent to the Congress, titled the “National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction”, has stated that the US will respond with “overwhelming force” in response to any attack with weapons of mass destruction on it, its troops or allies.

14 December: The US State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, has affirmed that Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons development at the Natanz plant in central Iran. He urged Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA and comply with its rules requiring complete disclosure of plan design information no later than 180 days before construction starts.

18 December: The US President has provided written legal authority to the CIA to hunt down and kill terrorists without seeking further approval each time the Agency is about to stage an operation, especially against terrorist leaders whose capture is impractical.

20 December: The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, declared that Iraq had flagrantly violated the UN disarmament resolution 1441. Speaking to newspersons in Washington, he observed that the recently furnished Iraqi declaration was a “catalogue of recycled information and flagrant omissions.”

28 December: The US ordered a major military force, comprising thousands of troops, two aircraft-carrier battle groups and scores of combat aircraft to the Persian Gulf in preparation for a possible war with Iraq.

Relations with India

11 January:The US intelligence apparatus, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency, stepped up surveillance along the India-Pakistan border looking for deployment of nuclear arsenal by both countries, according to a report in The New York Times. However, an unnamed official was quoted as saying, “So far there is no evidence of that.”

13 January:The United States President, George W. Bush, hailed the speech of the Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, delivered on 12 January and hoped that it would set the framework for a diplomatic solution to reducing tensions in the subcontinent.

16 January:The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, on his South Asia trip, said India and Pakistan must focus on Kashmir by renewing a direct dialogue. These talks were more important than reducing tensions along the border by way of troop withdrawal, he told reporters travelling with him.

22 January:The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, on a visit to India talked to the External Affairs Minister, Jaswant Singh and offered his sincere condolences to the families of those killed in the attack on the American Centre in Kolkata.

23 January:The United States President, Mr. George W. Bush, expressed concern about the violence in Kolkata where motorcycle-borne terrorists killed five policemen.

25 January:The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, today lamented India's test of a short-range nuclear missile but added he did not believe it would further inflame tensions between India and Pakistan.

20 March: The US Central Intelligence Agency Director, George Tenet, said the chances of a war between India and Pakistan were the highest since 1971 and maintained that a conventional war between the two nations could escalate into a nuclear confrontation.

28 March: Even as the Prevention of Terrorism Act has come under severe criticism in India by the Opposition parties, the Bush administration has given its stamp of “approval” to the measure saying that India “seems” to have gone about the whole thing in a “constitutional way”.

2 April: The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has cleared a proposal envisaging joint patrolling by India and the United States of the strategic Malacca Straits. The Malacca Straits, which encompasses the Indonesian island of Sumatra on the one side and Malaysia, on the other, forms a vital channel through which an estimated $ 500 billion worth of trade is conducted annually.

9 April:The visiting US Assistant Secretary of State (South Asia), Christina Rocca, and the Joint Secretary (North) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Meera Shankar, held discussions on the Maoist insurgency in Nepal and the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan.

23 April:New Delhi has clarified that there is no joint patrolling of the Straits of Malacca by Indian and American navies but that an Indian ship, INS SHARDA, was just ‘escorting’ American vessels carrying ‘high-value’ cargo for the ongoing military operation in the Arabian Sea/ Persian Gulf.

30 April: The US International Trade Commission has imposed anti-dumping duties on the import of silico-manganese from India, Kazakhstan and Venezuela, arguing that the US was for free trade but only so long as its industry was not hurt.

5 May: In an exclusive interview to The Hindu, the US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, has said that infiltration from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir has declined recently.

7 May: The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, in its annual report for 2002, has focused on the violence against minorities in India and urged the US government to pressure India to exercise its power to halt the atrocities and bring the perpetrators to justice. Ambassador Shirin Tahir-Kheli, one of the members of the Commission, averred that India is one of the two nations, the other being China, where the Commission has been barred from entering.

21 May: The State Department’s Report on Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2001 stated that though Pakistani support for organizations designated as ‘Foreign Terrorist Organizations’ has waned after 11 September, questions remained over whether President Musharraf’s policy would be fully implemented and sustained.

27 May: According to The New York Times, Pentagon has estimated that a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan would result in the “immediate death” of up to 12 million people.

30 May: US President George Bush told reporters in Washington that President Musharraf must stop incursions across the Line of Control and announced that he was sending his Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, to the subcontinent early next week to reduce tensions.

3 June: Speaking at the “Asian Security Conference”, organized by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in Singapore, the US Deputy Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, maintained that the US sees India as a useful counterfoil to China and as an emerging strategic player in East Asia, and is encouraging New Delhi to increase its profile in the region.

7 June: The visiting US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, told the Indian leadership that the American pressure on the Pakistan President to end cross-border terrorism had begun to yield results. At the same time, he stressed the American expectations of early reciprocal actions from India, which could lead to a step-by-step process of de-escalating the current India-Pakistan confrontation.

12 June: India conveyed to the visiting US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, that it was willing to take more steps towards reduction of military tensions with Pakistan if Islamabad moved towards a comprehensive effort to end cross-border terrorism. Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters that there were ‘indications’ of Al Qaeda terrorists operating near the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir and offered to provide ground sensors to monitor the militant incursion across the LoC.

14 June: According to a press report, India, the US and Britain are exploring ways to intensify intelligence gathering to evaluate accurately the Pakistan President’s promise to end infiltration across the LoC. Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh told reporters in Delhi after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) that the US offer of providing sensors to India was being studied.

24 June: Annoyed by the Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf’s remark to Newsweek that he had not given any commitment to permanently stop cross-border terrorism, the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, called up General Musharraf, who conveyed to him that he would stick to his promise.

13 July:  At the two-day meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Counter-Terrorism in Washington, India and the US agreed to intensify cooperation and intelligence sharing not only to prevent terrorist acts but also to neutralize terrorist outfits.

15 July: The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, has called the 13 July massacre of civilians in Jammu a “vicious killing committed by terrorist thugs” which was carried out to undermine efforts to ease tensions in South Asia.

19 July: The US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Christina Rocca, at a hearing in the House International Relations Sub-Committee, brushed aside calls for a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir and said that it was for India and Pakistan to settle the issue bilaterally within the framework of the Shimla Agreement.

22 July: The US further eased its restrictions on American citizens travelling to India, thus acknowledging the easing of military tensions in the subcontinent.

23 July: A report in The Washington Times says that the US is not taking too kindly to the sale of the Israeli Arrow missile defence system to India and that the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, would carry the US’s objection when he visits New Delhi on the 27 July.

25 July: Two senior Congressmen, Benjamin Gilman, and Gary Ackerman, Chairman and Ranking Member respectively of the House International Relations sub-Committee on the Middle East and South Asia, have urged the Secretary of State, Colin Powell that he reiterate the message to General Musharraf that the halt to terrorist infiltration must be “permanent and visible.”

27 July: The visiting US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, was told by India’s Foreign Minister, Yashwant Sinha, that India had “legitimate concerns about Pakistan and its role in fomenting terrorism.” The spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Nirupama Rao, told reporters that General Powell emphasized that the US does not see its relationship with India within the framework of India-Pakistan relations.

31 July: At the margins of the annual plenary of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) at Bander Seri Begawan (Brunei), the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, in his talks with Foreign Minister, Yashwant Sinha, is understood to have indicated that the resolution of the Kashmir issue would be a matter for India and Pakistan to address and solve it bilaterally.

6 August: The US has condemned the attacks on the Amarnath pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir, where nine pilgrims were killed and noted that such attacks were aimed at escalating tensions in the region.

23 August: The US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, informed reporters in New Delhi that the US will continue to use its good offices to reduce tensions between India and Pakistan. He added that Washington wanted the elections in Jammu and Kashmir to be free, fair and open. India also expressed its desire to improve bilateral relations between the two countries and the possibility of working out a “strategic framework” with the United States.

4 September: A news report talks of the proposed Indo-US military exercises, ‘Geronimo Thrust’, to be held in Alaska involving Special Forces. About 100 Indian armed forces personnel along with the IAF’s transport workhorse, 1L-76, will practise inter-operability with their American counterparts near the Elmendorf Air Force base at Fort Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska.

19 September: The US Ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, has termed as “remarkable” the 48 per cent turnout in Jammu and Kashmir during the first phase of elections and hoped the trend would also continue in the next phase.

24 September: India and the US announced that they would continue discussions on all “outstanding non-proliferation differences” after talks between the visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation, John Wolf, and Joint Secretary (Disarmament), S. K. Sharma. Separately, a meeting exclusively devoted to Afghanistan was held between the US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Christina Rocca, and the US Special Coordinator for Afghanistan, David Johnson, with Arun Singh and Jayant Prasad, Joint Secretaries in the External Affairs Ministry.

25 September: The White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, has condemned the terrorist attack on the Swaminarayan temple in Gujarat, calling it “horrific” and a “terrorist” attack.

26 September: The Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, told reporters in New Delhi that US pressure on Pakistan was not working and added that India will have to fight terrorism on its own strength.

30 September: The Finance Minister, Jaswant Singh, in Washington to attend the annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, observed that every country has the right to pre-emption and that this doctrine is not the prerogative of any one nation.

1 October: The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recommended that the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, designate India, along with other countries like China, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, among other countries, as “Countries of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

3 October: India and the US began their joint military exercises codenamed ‘Geronimo Thrust 02’ at Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Air Force Base, sponsored by the Pacific Command. The exercise is the first of its kind involving India’s troops and airmen on American soil.

7 October: The State Department’s 2002 Report on International Religious Freedom quotes “credible observers” to say that the “Gujarat fighting was aggravated by official inaction and in some cases, involvement.” The report notes that the “growing assertiveness of Hindu extremists also seems to be the major contributing factor to societal discrimination.”

10 October: The US State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, has said in Washington that the US was pleased with the elections in Jammu and Kashmir but noted that the elections alone cannot solve the problems between India and Pakistan.

17 October: The first contingent of US Air Force personnel arrived in Agra to take part in the first-ever joint exercises to be held with their Indian counterparts, between 26-30 October. The exercises are funded, scheduled and sponsored by the US Pacific Air Forces.

18 October: The US Ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, has called the troop pullback by India and Pakistan “a very major step in the right direction.” He hoped that in the context of the de-escalation, the Jammu and Kashmir elections and the naming of a new Pakistani Prime Minister soon, a dialogue would begin between India and Pakistan.

29 October: Addressing a FICCI meeting on US-India Economic Relations in New Delhi, the US Ambassador, Robert Blackwill, asserted that India was a victim of terrorism, which was entirely “externally-driven.” He added that India-US relations were rooted in “common interests, shared beliefs, and personal feelings.”

29 October: The Director (Policy Planning Staff) in the US State Department, Richard Haass, talking to reporters in New Delhi, said that it is “undesirable” for the India-Pakistan relationship to be as ‘thin’ as it is and favoured a “bottom-up approach” to strengthen the ties. He added that the US looked forward to working with a government in Pakistan whatever be its complexion and composition.

30 October: India and the US have begun their first-ever “Global Crises Forum”, an occasion to discuss a range of issues on the social plane. The first round of talks held between Foreign Secretary, Kanwal Sibal, and the visiting US Under Secretary for Global Affairs, Paula Dobrinsky, discussed the issue of AIDS in the presence of Additional Secretary in the Union Health Ministry, Meenakshi Datta-Ghosh, who also heads the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO). The two sides also discussed the issues of human rights in a multilateral context and the promotion of democracy.

30 October: The US President’s Special Envoy on Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, told reporters in New Delhi that Washington will be “vigilant” in watching Pakistan’s cooperation in the war against terrorism as a new government takes power in Islamabad.

7 November: The visiting US Under Secretary of State for Economics and Business affairs, Alan Larson, told the media in New Delhi that intra-regional trade in South Asia was very low and called for increased trade and economic interaction between India and Pakistan. He said this would also be good for rebuilding the war-ravaged country of Afghanistan.

12 November: The Defence Production and Supplies Secretary, N. S. Sisodia, after a meeting of the India-US Inter-governmental meeting on defence purchases, has questioned the reliability of the US as a long-term partner for defence equipment and warned the US of alternate supply sources if it continued to waffle on long-term product support.

13 November: At the end of a two-day visit by a US delegation led by US Under-Secretary of Commerce, Kenneth Juster, India and the US have decided to create an India-US High Technology Cooperation Group that will tackle contentious issues of increasing trade in “dual use” goods and technologies. The Foreign Secretary, Kanwal Sibal, led the Indian delegation.

12 November: The visiting US Treasury Secretary, Paul O’ Neill, has described India as one of the most restrictive countries in the world. He insisted that India could attain China’s level of foreign direct investment by making changes in policies and procedures. He urged India to build up trade with its neighbours, just as Canada and Mexico are the US’s largest trading partners.

26 November: The US has condemned the attack on the Raghunath temple in Jammu as a case of “senseless violence” and has noted that terrorism will not achieve the political goals of any group.

10 December: Speaking on Indo-US Relations in Kolkata on 27 November, the US Ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, has said that India and the US share three ‘big’ overlapping vital national interests. These include promotion of peace and freedom in Asia, combating international terrorism, and slowing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. He added that close cooperation would endure over the long term because of convergence in democratic values and national interests.

11 December: India’s National Security Adviser, Brajesh Mishra, after meeting top officials in Washington, maintained that there could be no dialogue with Pakistan unless cross-border terrorism stopped. He also pointed out that the US could not make Pakistan give up terrorism.

18 December: The US Ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, speaking after gifting 20 vehicles to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in New Delhi, identified drug enforcement as a key area of cooperation between India and the US.

26 December: India and the US signed an agreement whereby neither country will surrender persons of the other country to any international tribunal without the other country’s express consent. The Foreign Secretary, Kanwal Sibal, and the US Ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, signed the agreement.

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