Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh to travel to US next month

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh will travel to the US next month for consultations on key bilateral and regional issues including Afghanistan amidst India`s support for Afghan proposal of 15,000 foreign troops staying after 2014.

New Delhi: Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh will travel to the US next month for consultations on key bilateral and regional issues including Afghanistan amidst India`s support for Afghan proposal of 15,000 foreign troops staying in the war-torn country after 2014.

Singh will also hold talks with US Acting Undersecretary of State for arms control and international security Rose Gottemoeller during her visit in the first half of December.

An important part of the Indo-US dialogue structure, the Foreign Office Consultations will be co-chaired by Singh and her US counterpart Wendy Sherman.

On whether the snooping by the US intelligence will figure in the talks, a top government source said there was an ongoing discussion between Indian and the US on various issues and all issues which were "current, relevant and that are to be followed from the Summit-level meetings" will be discussed during the meeting.

Asked about Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai`s proposal that up to 15,000 foreign troops could stay in the war-torn country, a top government source said it was for Afghans to decide what they want and "India will support whatever decision is taken by the Afghan government".

Karzai today backed at a grand assembly of tribal chieftains, community leaders and politicians a proposed security pact with the US that will see up to 15,000 foreign troops stay in the war-torn country, but said it would not be signed until after next year`s election.
The assembly will debate the bilateral security agreement (BSA), which will shape Washington`s future military presence in Afghanistan, over next four days.
If the "loya jirga" assembly approves the BSA, it must then be passed by Afghan parliament. It has been touted as vital to the country`s future after 2014, when the bulk of NATO`s 75,000 troops will pull out. The Taliban insurgency this year has reached levels of violence not seen since 2010, according to the United Nations.

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