The Bush administration views India as a "very important country" with whom it has much "commonality." This was stated by US Vice President Richard Cheney during a 25-minute meeting he had with visiting Congress President Sonia Gandhi here yesterday.
The two leaders are understood to have discussed during their "friendly and cordial" meeting bilateral, regional and global issues as well as the forthcoming Indo-Pak Summit.
Sonia, the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha is believed to have informed him that her party has always been in favour of dialogue with Pakistan, sources said.
Earlier, addressing the Congressional India Caucus, she also lauded Indo-American friendship and the work being done by the India Caucus, saying both New Delhi and Washington were more deeeply engaged than ever before in fruitful dialogue across a broad spectrum of issues.
"We share a deep and abiding commitment to human rights and representative, multiparty democracy. We share a commitment to respecting and celebrating multiple diversities and pluralities.
"We share a commitment to protecting and promoting secular values and in combating the dangers of religious fundamentalism, obscurantism and extremism. We share a commitment to strengthening the rule-based multilateral system of free and fair international trade," she said.
Sonia also hailed the contribution of the Indian diaspora. "The wonderfully gifted and extraordinarily talented Indian diaspora is contributing to enriching American technological, scientific, academic, corporate and cultural life," she said.
"To be sure, in some areas we do have different perspectives... What is promising is the conviction in both countries that we work cooperatively in areas of mutual agreement without allowing our differences to come in the way, while pursuing the track of discussions and dialogue to narrow those differences," she said.
Elaborating on economic and social transformation India was going through, she said, liberalization, political decentralization and social empowerment "are the three most profound changes that India is experiencing." "India's traditional problems remain. But what you sense is a new aspiration and a renewed determination to address them meaningfully but always in the framework of democacy and rule of law.