Washington: A top American Senator has called for holding the next round of India-US Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi this year as against the scheduled venue of Washington, to show a good will gesture towards the new Narendra Modi-led government.
"The (India US Strategic) Dialogue (in New Delhi) would provide an early opportunity for the US Government to engage with the new Government in India," Senator Mark Warner, told a Washington audience yesterday.
The Strategic Dialogue, which was launched by the previous Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is held every year alternatively in India and the United States.
Last year it was held in New Delhi, for which the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, travelled to India.
As such the Strategic Dialogue for this year is scheduled this year in Washington.
But Warner and many friends for India in the US have been arguing that this year it should be held in New Delhi.
"Since the new Indian government will just be getting started, holding the Dialogue in Delhi will be less disruptive to organizing meetings and will provide both sides the opportunity to meet and get to work early in the term on joint initiatives," Warner said.
Before leaving for Central Asia, China and India, the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal, had said the US is open to the idea of holding this year`s Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi, but any decision would be held only in consultation with the new Indian Government.
In a major foreign policy speech on India-US Trade Relationship, Warner, who is co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, the only country-specific caucus in the United States Senate also called for establishing a public-private working group on infrastructure investment.
"In Gujarat, Mr Modi made infrastructure improvements a priority. He built thousands of kilometres of highways and improved the port facility.
For US firms, a large part of the investment opportunities for the next five years are likely to be in infrastructure," he said.
He noted that some American firms that have previously invested in India have experienced difficulties with payment certainty and are shy to take the risks of being primary developers.
"A public-private group could be charged with finding a way to ensure payment security for American investment, pointing toward specific projects where American firms can and should bid, and focusing US Government assistance to help identify American firms to play a role in the infrastructure build out," Warner said.