Washington: The US is looking to deepen its economic relationship with India, a top American diplomat has said ahead of President Barack Obama's trip to the country, during which the two countries would take up a host of issues, including defence, intellectual property as well as the bilateral investment treaty.
Obama will be travelling to India as a Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations. During his three-day visit starting January 25, he will hold talks with top leadership in New Delhi on ways to make progress on key issues like defence and civil nuclear agreement, among other engagements.
"We are looking to deepen our economic relationship with India, as Secretary (of State, John) Kerry emphasised in his recent visit," Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles H Rivkin, said in his address to the American Security Project.
Rivkin, who has just returned from India, said the two countries already enjoyed an annual two-way trade in goods and services of almost USD 100 billion in 2013.
"That represented an increase of more than 400 per cent since 2000. We believe we can build on this by greatly improving our two-way investment flows. Clearly, it is squarely in our interests to close all these pending and potential trade deals, not only for our prosperity, not only for our security," he said.
"I believe that these trade deals, if we can achieve the comprehensive and ambitious agreements that we are negotiating for, will not only help American manufacturers, service providers, farmers and ranchers increase US exports and compete in a highly competitive, globalised economy," he said.
Separately, at the Washington Foreign Press Center, State Department Deputy Spokesperson, Marie Harf agreed that US would be speaking with India on issues of intellectual property, as well as the bilateral investment treaty on the economic front.
"Those are certainly issues that we talk about. The Secretary had a very good visit to India recently for Prime Minister Modi's economic summit in Gujarat, and a variety of issues were talked about, including those," she said.