Sushma invites Kerry to India for second round of ‘Strategic and Commercial Dialogue’

Washington, Sept. 23 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday said that the discussions in the Indo-U.S. Strategic and Commercial Dialogue had been most ‘productive and fruitful’ and extended an invitation to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his other cabinet members to visit India next year for the second round of the dialogue.

“In my meeting with Secretary Kerry earlier this morning, we shared our strategic priorities, interests and concerns on issues of mutual interest including security and counter-terrorism, convergences in India’s Act East policy and the U.S. rebalance in Asia. Secretary Kerry and I agreed to work towards ensuring India’s membership of APEC,” Swaraj addressed the press conference here.

She stated that the main take-away from the discussions included their shared view that both nations need to keep the big picture- the strategic framework of relationship- in mind.

“We also talked about creating new substantive underpinnings to deepen bilateral engagement including in the fields of defence, security, cyber, energy, climate change, science & technology, space, health, and other areas of economic development,” Swaraj added.

Both nations launched a new high-level dialogue between India’s Foreign Secretary and the US Deputy Secretary of State on regional and global issues.

India’s aspiration for greater participation in internet governance organizations such as ICANN and related bodies was discussed and both nations agreed to convene a Track 1.5 program to further cooperation on internet and cyber issues.

The External Affairs Minister also said that India recognized climate change as one of the most pressing challenges in current times and has agreed to maintain close consultation in the run-up to the COP-21, the Paris Conference of Parties under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Secretary Kerry and I are also due to meet again in a few days’ time with our Japanese counterpart, Foreign Minister Kishida, for the first-ever trilateral meeting of the Foreign Ministers of our three countries,” Swaraj said.

Hailing the strong growth of economic partnership between the two nations, Kerry said earlier that the annual trade in goods and services between the US and India has grown nearly five folds since 2000 to just over $100 billion. (ANI)

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