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Series of visits from US to intensify Indo-US engagement

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 4 (UNI) The Indo-US engagement is set to get a big boost with a series of visits by top officials of the Bush Administration and members of the Congress and other political leaders to India this month.

To begin with, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Richard Boucher, will visit India for consultations with Indian officials from April 6-8. During the visit he will hold meetings with his Indian counterpart Dr S Jaishankar, Joint Secretary (Americas) in the Ministry of External Affairs on the entire gamut of bilateral relations.

There will also be bilateral consultations on regional issues during the visit, a spokesman of the External Affairs Ministry said.

However, sources said Mr Boucher will also hold talks on the civilian nuclear agreement here on April seven.

The visit by the US officials comes close on the heels of Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran's tour of the US where he held talks with several top officials of the US Administration including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns.

Both of them assured Mr Saran of Bush Administration's commitment to the Indo-US nuclear deal.

The spokesman said a number of visits from the US Congress are also expected in the coming days.

US Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican Senior Senator from Nebraska, will visit New Delhi and Mumbai from April 9-11.

Senator Hagel is member of Senate committees on Foreign Relations, Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Intelligence and Rules. He is also Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Sub-committee on International Economic Policy, Export and Trade Promotion and the Senate Banking Securities and Investment Sub-committee.

He is also a member of the Senate Sub-committee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs.

This will be followed by the visit of a delegation from the US House of Representatives led by House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

The delegation will visit Agra, Jaipur and New Delhi from April 9-12.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (Republican-Illinois) will be accompanied by Representative Michael Oxley (Republican-Ohio), Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services, Representative Sherwood Boehlert (Republican-New York), Chairman of the House Science Committee, Representative Frank Lucas (Republican-Oklahoma) who serves on the Agriculture, Financial Services, and Science Committees, Representative Ray LaHood (Republican-Illinois), Vice Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Representative Paul Ryan (Republican-Wisconsin), who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, House Budget Committee and the Joint Economic Committee, Representative Randy Neugebauer (Republican-Texas) who serves on House Committees on Agriculture and Financial Services, and Representative Dan Boren (Democrat-Oklahoma), who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Resources Committee.

Another Congressional delegation led by Senator Michael Enzi (Republican-Wyoming) and including Senator Edward Kennedy (Democrat-Massachusetts), Senator Lamar Alexander (Republican-Tennessee) and Senator Johnny Isakson (Republican-Georgia) will visit Bangalore, Delhi and Agra from April 11-16.

They will be accompanied also by the US Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.

Senator Michael Enzi is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Senator Edward Kennedy is the Ranking Member of the Health, Education, Labour and Pensions Committee in the Senate. He also serves on the Judiciary Committee and on the Armed Services Committee and is a member of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee.

Senator Lamar Alexander is the former Education Secretary of the United States and Chairman of the Senate Education and Early Childhood Development Sub-committee and the Senate Energy Sub-committee.

Senator Johnny Isakson is a member of Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labour and Pensions, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs and Senate Committee on Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship.


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