US negotiating MoU with India on women's issues

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The US is in the process of negotiating a memorandum of understanding with India on women's issues, a top Obama Administration official has informed lawmakers saying they are "horrified" at the recent incidents of gang rape and murder of two girls in UP.

"We are in the process of negotiating an MoU with the Indian government on women's issues and I think that we're fairly optimistic going forward," the Ambassador At Large For Global Women's Issues,Catherine M Russell said yesterday.

She was speaking at a Congressional hearing, wherein lawmakers expressed deep concern over the recent episodes of violence against women in India and urged the US Government to hold talks with the Indian Government in this regard.

"Obviously the stories of the gang rape hangings are absolutely horrifying. The interesting thing is that the Indian public had a very strong reaction to that as well and I think the politicians there are responding," Russell said.

It'll be very interesting to see how the new Prime Minister reacts to this and we're hopeful that there will be a positive and forward-thinking reaction, she added.

"We are engaged in a dialogue with the Indian government and a women's empowerment dialogue. That's been going," she said.

Referring to the talks with the Indian Government on the MoU, Russell said the Obama Administration has been talking to them about gender-based violence issues and places that the US can share experiences with them.

"At this point I'm somewhat hopeful that this will be a positive effort going forward. But you know, it's obviously we're waiting to see how this government reacts to these," she said.

Chairing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on "Combating Violence and Discrimination Against Women: A Global Call to Action," Senator Barbara Boxer said US lawmakers last month were horrified to learn that two young girls in India were murdered after being brutally raped.

"And tragically, attacks against women are all too common in India," she said.

"So, I wrote to India's newly elected prime minister urging him to take immediate action to combat violence and improve the safety and security of women and girls," Boxer said, adding India is not the only country.

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