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Published: Friday, 7/24/2009

Focus on India

SECRETARY of State Hillary Clinton's four-day visit to India produced some concrete commercial results for the United States and raised interesting business prospects for the long term.

The previous administration made diplomatic gains there through the conclusion of a civil nuclear agreement, in spite of India's possession of nuclear weapons and refusal to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Mrs. Clinton took this trip, in part, to promote the conclusion of contracts between American firms and Indian parties for the construction of some 24 nuclear power plants. She also sought to firm up progress on weapons contracts for American firms with the Indian military, through an agreement that permits the United States to install measures that block the transfer of such weapons to unauthorized recipients.

The Clinton visit wasn't entirely a diplomatic slam dunk, however. The Indians responded stiffly to her blandishments to be reasonable on controlling greenhouse gas emissions, reminding the United States of its own weak record.

One subject that may have been discussed in private but didn't make press reports was Kashmir, a major point of contention between India and Pakistan. The countries have just resumed the talks that were suspended by India after last year's Mumbai violence, which claimed 166 lives. India still harbors feelings that Pakistan didn't respond strongly enough to the tragedy.

Mrs. Clinton would love to hang a resolution of the Kashmir problem on the wall during her tenure, but that will take considerably more effort.

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