US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Delhi on Wednesday to hold the 5th Indo-US Strategic Dialogue. Kerry's visit is first high-level interaction at the political level after the new government came to power here, the MEA Spokesperson said. Kerry's visit two months ahead of Prime Minister Modi's trip is aimed at instilling some vigour in bilateral ties, which appeared to have lost momentum in the final years of UPA regime. Noting that the Indo-US ties were at a stage of "stable and mature growth", the Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said the two ministers are expected to explore new frontiers and initiatives to further promote bilateral relations.
This visit would lay the groundwork for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Washington in September to meet President Barack Obama, an American official said. "Secretary Kerry's visit underscores the importance of the US-India partnership, and will lay the groundwork for Prime Minister Modi's September visit to the United States," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.
Why is John Kerry in India?
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Delhi on Wednesday to hold the 5th Indo-US Strategic Dialogue on Thursday during which India will be raising issues of snooping by the US' NSA and terrorism even as the two sides will explore "transformative initiatives" in key areas such as defence and energy. Kerry along with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj will co-chair the Dialogue which will also be attended by senior representatives of various ministries including home and defence. Union Minister of State for Commerce (Independent charge) Nirmala Sitharaman will also participate in the Dialogue which will explore ways to strengthen bilateral business ties. Read more
What is strategic dialogue?
A strategic dialogue is high-level political interaction. India and the United States launched ministerial-level strategic dialogue in July 2009, focusing on five areas of mutual interest which are energy and climate change, education and development, economy, trade and agriculture, science and technology, health and innovation. The first Strategic Dialogue was held in Washington DC in June 2010, followed by successive rounds.e: US Secretary of State John Kerry meets Arun Jaitley; to meet Sushma Swaraj shortly. Read more
India refusal on WTO deal a wrong signal: John Kerry to Narendra Modi
US Secretary of State John Kerry told Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday that India's refusal to sign a global trade deal sent the wrong signal, and he urged New Delhi to work to resolve the row as soon as possible. A World Trade Organisation pact to ease worldwide customs rules collapsed late on Thursday over India's demands for concessions on agricultural stockpiling. "Failure to sign the Trade Facilitation Agreement sent a confusing signal and undermined the very image Prime Minister Modi is trying to send about India," a US State Department official told reporters after Kerry's meeting with Modi. Read More
John Kerry meets Narendra Modi at his residence
US Secretary of State John Kerry visited 7, Race Course Road to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a day after he met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley. The two of them reportedly discussed bilateral as well as global issues of mutual interest to the countries. This visit is also significant as it will create the ground for Modi’s visit to the US in September this year. Kerry is in India for the 5th India-US Strategic Dialogue. Notably, Kerry's is the first high-level contact of the US government with the Modi government.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) August 1, 2014
US blames India for collapse of WTO trade deal talks
The United States has blamed India for the collapse of the talks for a Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and said that New Delhi taking a hardline position has put the future of World Trade Organisation in "uncertain ground". In a statement, the US has regretted that "India and handful of (WTO) Members" decided not to adhere to their commitment to implement the TFA consistent with the Bali agreement. Read more
India, US stress strategic ties but tensions remain
The United States and India stressed their desire to boost business and defense ties on Thursday, but trade and spying rows were a reminder of the obstacles to President Barack Obama's vision of a "defining" partnership. After a day of meetings in New Delhi seen as a preparation for a September visit to Washington by new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the Indian leader's election had created a "singular opportunity." Read more
US welcomes Narendra Modi, was denied visa by previous government: John Kerry
In perhaps the first explanation of the US denial of visa for Narendra Modi, the Obama Administration today said the decision was taken by the "previous" government. "It's a very big deal. Different government, it's a different government now. Just like it is here. We will welcome Prime Minister Modi. "He is going to get a welcome. Of course, he will get a visa. No question whatsoever. And we look forward to a terrific meeting with President Obama in September," Secretary of State John Kerry told NDTV today. Read more
India-US joint statement talks tough to Pakistan to bring 26/11 attack perpetrators to justice
India and the US today asked Pakistan to work towards bringing the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks to justice even as they vowed to eliminate terrorist safe havens and disrupt terror networks including that of al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba. In a joint statement after marathon talks between visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the leaders reiterated their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms. They reaffirmed their commitment to eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure and disrupting terrorist networks including al-Qaeda and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the statement said. "The leaders called on Pakistan to work toward bringing the perpetrators of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks to justice," it added. Read more
Sushma Swaraj says, Indians angry with snooping
India today bluntly told the US that surveillance of political leaders and others in India by the American intelligence was "unacceptable" to which the US responded by saying that any differences that may exist can be resolved by intelligence communities of the two countries. This emerged after marathon talks between visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry, the highest-ranking dignitary to visit India since the installation of the Modi government, and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj here. The two sides had wide-range of key issues like trade, defence and energy.
At a joint press conference tonight, Swaraj was asked if she had raised the issue of surveillance of BJP leaders in 2010 by the US National Security Agency (NSA), as was made public recently on the basis of revelations of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Swaraj replied,"I raised this issue with Secretary Kerry. I told them that when this news appeared in Indian papers, Indians were agitated and they had expressed their anger too.
Earlier Official Spokesperson for Ministry of External Affairs Syed Akbarudin tweeted
R partnership is based on common fundamental values & converging long term strategic interests -Minister @SushmaSwaraj on India-US relations
— Syed Akbaruddin (@MEAIndia) July 31, 2014
We see great potential for the U.S. as a global partner - Minister @SushmaSwaraj
— Syed Akbaruddin (@MEAIndia) July 31, 2014
NSA snooping issue raised with John Kerry
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has raised the issue of the US National Security Agency (NSA) snooping on India with John Kerry, say sources. Kerry on his part has said that the US would take all steps to pave the way for Indian PM Narendra Modi when he visits the US in September.
John Kerry meets Sushma Swaraj
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin had told reporters yesterday that both Kerry and Sushma Swaraj will interact with the media after the talks. The media interaction will be followed by a working dinner between Kerry and Sushma Swaraj. The US Secretary of State is scheduled to meet the Prime Minister on Friday. "India-US relation is witnessing a stable and mature growth and the meeting between Sushma Swaraj and Kerry is expected to explore new frontiers and initiatives to strengthen bilateral ties," Akbaruddin said. Noting that the Indo-US ties were at a stage of "stable and mature growth", the Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said the two ministers are expected to explore new frontiers and initiatives to further promote bilateral relations.
— Syed Akbaruddin (@MEAIndia) July 31, 2014
US Secretary of State John Kerry meets Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived on Wednesday to re-energise the bilateral ties and to narrow the differences on various issues, on Thursday met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The US leader also took time out of his busy schedule and visited two Indian Institute of Technology laboratories and interacted with the students. Kerry visited the Applied Microbiology Laboratory and Bio-process lab of the IIT. Today's meeting between the two leaders holds significance as it aims to lay the groundwork for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's much-awaited visit to the United States in September.
ALSO READ: 5 things John Kerry and Sushma Swaraj should discuss
Kerry's meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj can be seen as a prologue to Narendra Modi's visit to the United States in October. The meeting is strategically important firstly due to the change in the government, and both the countries know that. India and US are important allies for each other, especially against the continuous rise of China in global politics as a formidable power. Here are five things Kerry and Swaraj could be discussing about on Kerry's first official visit to India after the Narendra Modi government came to power: Read here
Ahead of visit, John Kerry endorsed Narendra Modi's 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas' as a great vision
The developmental plan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi reflected in his poll slogan of "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas" is a great vision, US Secretary of State John Kerry said today on the eve of his departure to India. Kerry will be in New Delhi to co-chair the fifth annual India–US Strategic Dialogue with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj. In fulsome praise of the developmental agenda encompassing inclusive growth of Modi, Kerry in a major foreign policy speech on India said that the US is ready to be partner with the new Indian government in its endeavour. "The new Indian government's plan, 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas', together with all, development for all – that's a concept, a vision that we want to support. We believe it's a great vision, and our private sector is eager to be a catalyst in India's economic revitalisation," Kerry said in his address to a Washington audience at an event held by the Center for American Progress, a top US think tank. Read more
(With agency inputs)
(First published on July 31, 2014)