India and the US on Tuesday held their first strategic and commercial dialogue with an aim to
ramp up economic exchange to USD 500 billion and enhance regional security, days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with President Barack Obama in New York.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj highlighted the priority areas in bilateral ties as they inaugurated the India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.
Swaraj said India and US are on a path of increased cooperation.
"This is a very busy time for India and US relations. Its important that we set timelines to achieve our targets," she said, thanking Kerry for very fruitful discussions between the two countries ahead of Prime Minister Modi's visit to the US.
Secretary of State Kerry said President Obama is very much looking forward to a meeting with Prime Minister Modi at the UN General Assembly meetings in New York next week.
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"And then we have a very robust discussion regarding counter-terrorism, the Indian Ocean, maritime security, South China Sea, the South Asian challenges of the moment, as well
as our challenges on a global basis for nuclear non-proliferation and climate change," Kerry said.
"So it's a full agenda with one of our most important partners in the world, the largest democracy in the world. Together we're the oldest and one of great common values and
common commitment to the freedom of our people, to individual creativity and respect for human rights, and entrepreneurial activity. And I think we have plans to advance our
relationship to a USD 500 billion goal of economic exchange," he said.
Kerry said India and the US together can shape up more secure and prosperous future.
Swaraj said, "the impressive intensity, scale and level of achievements in our bilateral engagement since last year, is a testimony to the leadership, direct supervision and the
tremendous importance attached to the bilateral relationship by our leaders, Prime Minister Modi and President Obama."
"The emerging context of the Indo-US political, strategic and security, and economic ties continues to be constantly shaped by international geo-politics, the strength of the
Indian economy amidst global economic uncertainties and the need for partnership among democracies to respond to some of the global challenges like terrorism," she said.
The first India-US Strategic Dialogue, announced during the India visit of Obama in January this year, is being hosted by Kerry along with Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker at the
Department of State.
Swaraj arrived in Washington on Monday to lead the Indian delegation for the dialogue which also includes Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Power Minister Piyush Goyal.
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