With the Obama administration keen to elevate its dialogue with New Delhi, external affairs minister SM Krishna will leave for the US for the first ministerial-level strategic dialogue.
The three-day strategic dialogue from June 1, will be co-chaired by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton. The talks between Krishna and Clinton are also expected to lay the ground for US President Barack Obama’s visit to India later this year. Krishna will be accompanied by several senior ministers, including HRD minister Kapil Sibal, deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and foreign secretary Nirupama Rao, and other senior officials.
While strategic talks between the two democracies have taken place, this will be the first ministerial-level dialogue. US administration is keen on transforming relations and expanding ties in key sectors such as education, agriculture and space. It has already completed strategic talks with China and Pakistan. While the focus of the talks will be bilateral, regional issues will also be high on the agenda. Terrorism and Af-Pak will be on the table. Clinton needs to reassure Krishna that the US is not tilting towards Pakistan because of its dependence on its Army.
Referring to the inaugural India-US strategic dialogue led by Krishna and Clinton, State Department spokesman P J Crowley said at a briefing, “I think the strategic dialogue speaks for itself. We have very strong cultural ties to India, so we look forward to the strategic dialogue.”