Clinton to visit India in coming months for Strategic Dialogue

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Lalit K Jha

Washington, Jan 20 (PTI) US Secretary of State HillaryClinton will travel to India this spring, most likely in earlyApril, for the next round of India-US Strategic Dialogue.

She would be accompanied by a number of otherCabinet-level officials as part of the administration''sefforts to expand the scope of the Strategic Dialogue.

"Secretary Clinton and other Cabinet officials willtravel to India this spring for the US-India StrategicDialogue, which oversees the entire spectrum of ourcooperation," Assistant Secretary of State for South andCentral Asia Robert Blake, said in his remarks at the RiceUniversity in Houston Texas.

While the exact date of the trip has not beenannounced, Clinton is likely to visit India in early April.

This would be Clinton''s second trip to India as theSecretary of State, the first one being in 2009.

Clinton''s trip would be preceded by the visit ofCommerce Secretary Gary Locke, who would lead a high-leveltrade mission to India in February.

"On the business side, Commerce Secretary Locke willtravel to India in February to attend Aero India, the biannualIndian aerial fair that has grown in importance as Indiaitself has grown.

"India will soon announce the winners of a tenderworth up to USD 12 billion to supply 126 medium multi-rangecombat aircraft � a competition in which both Boeing andLockheed Martin have entered their jets," Blake said in hisremarks.

Blake said this year the US intends to build onPresident Barack Obama''s visit in 2010 through an intensiveprogramme of collaborative activities, high-profile visits andgreater engagement.

"Of particular note, we welcome the opportunity towork with India closely during its two-year tenure on the UNSecurity Council, which started January 1," he said.

He said engagement between the governments of the twocountries has never been as robust and comprehensive as it isnow.

Blake said the President''s dramatic visit to Indiahighlighted the vast ties between the two countries, andcooperation on critical issues ranging from climate change, tocounter-terrorism, non-proliferation and energy diversity.

"President Obama acknowledged India''s growing role inthe world by endorsing India for a permanent seat on the UNSecurity Council," he said.

"As President Obama said in his November 8 speech tothe Indian Parliament, ''For the first time ever, ourgovernments are working together across the whole range ofcommon challenges that we face. Now, let me say it as clearlyas I can: the United States not only welcomes India as arising global power, we fervently support it, and we haveworked to help make it a reality," Blake said.

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