Biswal headed to India to discuss strategic ties

Washington, July 15 (IANS) US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal is headed to India to make preparations for the first India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in Washington in September.

Biswal, who will be in New Delhi July 16-17, “will meet with senior Indian government officials to discuss shared priorities and increased US-India cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as upcoming engagements,” a State Department announcement said.

The first Strategic and Commercial Dialogue announced after the January summit between President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will showcase Indo-US cooperation “from outer space to cyberspace.”

To be co-hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, the dialogue will also provide “a new platform to build on past results and work toward future progress,” Biswal said at an event to mark the tenth anniversary of India-US nuclear deal Monday.

Over the next ten years, India and US will work toward greater convergence on trade, she said.

In 2005, bilateral trade was less than $30 billion – today it is over $100 billion, and the two countries want to get that to $500 billion.

The two sides will also continue to bring international pressure on terrorist groups around the world who target Indians and Americans alike, Biswal, one of the many officials of Indian heritage in the Obama administration, said.

Over the next ten years, India and US, she said, “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.”

“In September, our first US-Japan-India ministerial will move us closer to this goal as we strengthen our cooperation on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and economic connectivity,” Biswal said.

As India will need to provide 400 million of its citizens with reliable energy, the US and India through their clean energy partnerships have mobilised nearly $3 billion dollars in renewable energy investments since 2009, she said.

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