First Indo-US strategic dialogue in Sept: US

RSTV Bureau

Looking forward to cement the ties further, India and US leadership will soon be holding a Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. The first round of dialogue is all set to be held in September at Washington. Top American diplomat Nisha Desai Biswal announced it late on Monday evening (US local time). Welcoming the announcement, the Indian Ambassador to the US seconded that US would continue to play an important role in India’s transformation.

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File photo of US Secretary of State John Kerry. Photo – PTI

“Our first Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, which Secretary Kerry and Secretary Pritzker will co-host in Washington this September…give us a new platform to build on past results and work toward future progress,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal said while addressing an audience at an event in Washington organised jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a US-based think-tank.

The Indian delegation to this dialogue in September will be led by Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

“Over the next ten years, we will work toward greater convergence on trade. In 2005, bilateral trade was less than USD 30 billion — today it is over USD 100 billion, and we want to get that to USD 500 billion,” Biswal added further in her address.

Welcoming the move, Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh said that the two countries will play a significant role in addressing global challenges.

“Going forward, I see the US continuing to play a role in India’s transformation, and see India and the US joining hands to make the world a better place for our two nations and the rest of the world,” Ambassador Arun K Singh told the audience.

“As the Indian Prime Minister, has said, ‘We should not confine ourselves to thinking what India and the US can do for each other but what we can do together for the world’,” Ambassador Singh added further.

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File photo of Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Photo – PTI

The event was organised to commemorate the 10th anniversary of India-US civilian nuclear deal.

“We should take that as our common challenge for the future, as we step into the second decade of the historic and transformative civil nuclear cooperation initiative,” Srun K Singh said.

Sharing a concern on terror, the top US diplomat Ms Biswal claimed that over the next ten years US will continue to bring international pressure on terrorist groups around the world who target Indians and Americans alike.

“Fourteen years after the Indian parliament was attacked by terrorists, the Indian government will help to inaugurate the new Afghan Parliament building – a gift from India to the people of Afghanistan, and a testament to the resilience of freedom and democracy in the face of terror and brutality,” said Biswal.

Talking about the defence ties, Ms Biswal said that over the next ten years, the two countries will build upon their Joint Vision for the Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean Region to promote regional development, a rules-based order and trade that is free and fair.

The Indian Ambassador too emphasised on the growing defence ties between the two nations.

“We have added the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative to foster collaboration in transformative defence technology, co-production and co-development. Last year, we began a new and futuristic knowledge partnership in defence studies,” Arun K Singh said.

(With inputs from the PTI)