India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue to focus on bilateral, regional, global issues

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New Delhi, May 30 (ANI): India's first Strategic Dialogue to be held in Washington will focus on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues of shared interest and common concern.

External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna will be visiting the United States for the Strategic Dialogue to be held on June 3. It aims to enhance the Global Strategic Partnership between India and the U.S., by serving as a very important mechanism to review, enhance and coordinate broad-based cooperation between the two countries.

The dialogue is expected to give direction to the programmes currently under implementation and take initiatives to further the Indian and US developmental, security and economic interests.

"Currently our interaction, our exchanges, our dialogue is being undertaken in 18 areas comprising of five pillars of cooperation, under the Strategic Dialogue. These are: strategic cooperation; energy and climate change; education and development; economic, trade and agriculture; and lastly science, technology, health and innovation," said MEA spokeman Vishnu Prakash in a briefing ahead of Krishna's visit to the U.S..

Informing about the meet and likely developments, the MEA spokesman said: "EAM and Secretary Clinton will consider an approach to operationalise the Obama-Singh Knowledge Initiative aimed inter alia at increasing University linkages, faculty exchanges, and so on."

"A memorandum of understanding on agricultural cooperation and food security was also signed in November 2009 during the visit of the Prime Minister, to increase cooperation in agricultural research, human resource capacity development, natural resource management and collaborative research for increasing food productivity. This will also be discussed," he added.

As Energy is a vital sector of cooperation for both the countries, Vishnu Prakash said: "As part of the Energy Dialogue, both sides are working on establishing a joint Clean Energy Research Centre and we are accelerating efforts to deploy clean energy technologies in both countries. India and the US have also taken crucial steps towards full implementation of the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement."

"The Agreement on Arrangements and Procedures for Reprocessing pursuant to Article 6(iii) of the India-US Agreement on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, has been concluded, which will allow for India's reprocessing of US-origin spent fuel," he added.

The spokesman also mentioned that a Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism was established in 2009. A number of meetings have taken place under that framework.

Mentioning that since the decision to launch the Strategic Dialogue in July 2009, both sides have held comprehensive discussions on bilateral, regional and global issues of shared interests, the MEA spokesperson said: "We have discussed regional issues including those related to security and our common objective of promoting peace, stability and economic development in the region and beyond."

"EAM and Secretary Clinton will also discuss cooperation within multilateral fora and exchange views on how international organizations can better address the 21st century challenges," he informed.

"The Dialogue will serve to reaffirm our bilateral commitment to further deepen our Strategic and Global Partnership. The meeting will also help lay the ground for the visit of US President to India later this year," Vishnu Prakash stated.

Last July, during U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's India visit, Krishna and Clinton had decided to launch the Strategic Dialogue between the two countries.

It will be held alternately in the capitals of both countries.

On June 3, in Washington, at the Strategic Dialogue, Krishna will be joined by Deputy-Chairman, Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who is also the Co-chair for the India-US Economic Dialogue, for the India-US Agricultural Dialogue, and the India-US Energy Dialogue.

"The Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal will also be travelling to Washington, and he is the Co-chair of the Education Dialogue. Minister of Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan will be there too," the Spokesman said while adding that "science and technology is a very important facet of our bilateral cooperation."

These dignitaries will have their separate programmes and meetings with their US counterparts, as a part of their ongoing dialogue processes and would join the Strategic Dialogue on June 3.

EAM will be assisted by Foreign Secretary Ms. Nirupama Rao; Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology; Special Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs; Joint Secretary Gaitri Kumar; and other officials.

Secretary Clinton would be joined by the National Security Advisor, the Commerce Secretary of the US, the Education Secretary and a number of other senior leaders and officials.

Saying that the composition of the delegations and the high-level participation on both sides, should give everyone a fair idea of the scope and nature of the first Strategic Dialogue between the two countries, the MEA spokesman said: "Regular high-level contacts and bilateral dialogue on a wide range of subjects of mutual interest, are reflective of the qualitatively transformed relationship between our two countries."

Krishna will be undertaking the U.S. visit from June 1 to 4. (ANI)

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