Indo-US strategic and commercial dialogue to be held in September

The first India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue would be held here in September, a top American diplomat announced today while highlighting that it would give the two countries a new platform to build on past results and work towards future progress.

Washington: The first India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue would be held here in September, a top American diplomat announced today while highlighting that it would give the two countries a new platform to build on past results and work towards future progress.

From the US side, the dialogue, the announcement for which was made in New Delhi in January during the India visit of US President Barack Obama, would be co-chaired by Secretary of State John Kerry and the Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

The Indian delegation to the first of its kind dialogue, the dates for which have not been announced yet, would be led by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

"Our first Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, which Secretary Kerry and Secretary Pritzker will co-host in Washington this September, will showcase these efforts (of the last 10 years) and give us a new platform to build on past results and work toward future progress," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told a Washington audience.

Biswal was speaking at an event organised jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a US-based think-tank on the 10th anniversary of India US Civilian Nuclear Deal.

"Over the next ten years, we will work toward greater convergence on trade. In 2005, bilateral trade was less than USD 30 billion -- today it is over USD 100 billion, and we want to get that to USD 500 billion," she said.

"But we first must reduce investment barriers and streamline commercial regulations to open new markets and facilitate new technologies. We must invest in each other's economic successes just as we are invested in each other's strategic successes," Biswal said.

Over the next ten years, the United States will continue to bring international pressure on terrorist groups around the world who target Indians and Americans alike, she said.

"Fourteen years after the Indian parliament was attacked by terrorists, the Indian government will help to inaugurate the new Afghan Parliament building -? a gift from India to the people of Afghanistan, and a testament to the resilience of freedom and democracy in the face of terror and brutality," she added.

Biswal said over the next ten years, the two countries 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," she said.

Over the next ten years, India will need to provide 400 million of its citizens with reliable energy.

"To secure that future, the United States and India -- through our clean energy partnerships -- have mobilised nearly USD 3 billion in renewable energy investments since 2009," Biswal said.

"Our nuclear cooperation with India is a vital component of India's energy future, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, leaving cleaner air and providing reliable electricity that can help increase investment, stabilise food prices and power India's economic rise," the US diplomat said.

Biswal said she is convinced the United States and India can and will deliver a better life for future generations.

"I believe will we will see a day when businesses in the United States and India can reap the benefits of a high-standard Bilateral Investment Treaty. I believe we will see the day when India will be accepted into APEC, and meet the standards of the world's most progressive trade pacts," she said.  

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