New Delhi: Visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Tuesday sat down for a strategic dialogue at the Hyderabad House here.
The Second US-India Strategic Dialogue is likely to focus on a host of issues, including ways to expand counter-terror cooperation, speeding of implementation of their landmark civil nuclear deal, enhancing bilateral cooperation in energy, agriculture, commerce and monsoon data sharing etc.
Clinton arrived in New Delhi late on Monday night from Athens, Greece, on what is her second visit to India as Secretary of State. She was received by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, India’s Ambassador to the United States Meera Shankar and other senior officials.
Prior to meeting Krishna, Clinton met National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon today.
During her visit, she will also call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
India and the US will discuss an entire gamut of issues including strategic cooperation, counter-terrorism, energy and climate change, education, science and technology, health and defence, officials said.
Both sides are likely to sign key pacts in the areas of cyber security and civil aviation after the talks, said sources.
“The depth of the US-India Strategic Dialogue demonstrates the United States’ strong support for India as an important actor on the world stage,” a statement from Clinton’s office said before the visit.
India is likely to seek from the US assistance in probing the 13/7 bombings. Though it is unclear what kind of cooperation may be sought.
Clinton will be assisted at the talks by US Director of National Intelligence James R Clapper and Deputy Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute, besides others.
Krishna would be assisted by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Adviser to the Prime Minister Sam Pitroda, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, Foreign Secretary-designate Ranjan Mathai, the Secretaries of Home, Commerce and Environment Ministries and Nehchal Sandhu, Director, Intelligence Bureau.
Implementing the landmark nuclear deal and fresh complications arising from the new guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group which deny access to enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technologies to countries which have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are set to figure in the discussions.
India is also expected to seek a fresh assurance from the US that the new NSG guidelines will not impinge on Washington’s commitment to implement full civilian nuclear cooperation that includes the transfer of ENR technologies, to New Delhi.
The volatile situation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region will be an important part of the discussions.
Clinton is expected to brief India on its negotiations with a section of the so-called moderate Taliban and assuage New Delhi’s worries that the reconciliation will give Islamabad an upper hand in shaping a future dispensation in Kabul that may be hostile to Indian interests. Clinton is also expected to address India’s concerns arising from the phased drawdown of 33,000 US troops from Afghanistan by next year which New Delhi fears could led to the re-emergence of a hostile Taliban.
Clinton is expected to underline India’s critical role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction, said sources.
India is expected to brief the US on the forthcoming foreign minister-level talks it will have with Pakistan later this month.
Clinton will also go to Chennai on Wednesday, the hub of high-value American investments. She heads to Bali on Thursday morning to attend the meeting of foreign ministers of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Zeenews