New Delhi: Ahead of the first India-US strategic dialogue in Washington next week, US Under Secretary for Political Affairs William Burns Monday held discussions with Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao to firm up the agenda for the talks.
Rao and Burns discussed issues related to expanding cooperation in the five focus areas of strategic cooperation, including energy and climate change, education and development, economic trade and agriculture, which have been identified for the strategic dialogue.
"The substantive issues relating to the forthcoming visit of the external affairs minister to the US June 2-3, 2010, for the inaugural meeting of the India-US Strategic Dialogue in Washington were at the core of their discussions," the external affairs ministry said in a statement Monday night.
Besides bilateral issues, they also exchanged views on regional and global issues of shared interest and common concern, the ministry said.
Issues relating to the stability of Afghanistan-Pakistan region also figured in the discussions, official sources said.
Burns also called on Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will leave for Washington June 1 for the three-day visit which will be co-chaired by his counterpart, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal and Ahluwalia will be accompanying Krishna. Rao will join the Indian delegation in Washington from Beijing.
This will be the first ministerial-level strategic dialogue between the two countries which are expanding their global partnership across a wide swathe of areas. Clinton had announced the dialogue during her visit to India in July last year.
The talks between Krishna and Clinton are also expected to lay the groundwork for US President Barack Obama`s visit to India later this year.