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Hillary arrives today for dialogue
India may seek American assistance in 13/7 Mumbai triple blasts probe
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 17
Even as India recovers from the trauma of Wednesday’s blasts in Mumbai, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives here tomorrow for the second Indo-US strategic dialogue, which she will co-chair with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.

With Indian investigating agencies still almost clueless about the perpetrators of the blasts in Mumbai, indications are that India might seek US assistance in probing the bombings. Besides counter-terrorism, the two sides will discuss concerns over the nuclear deal and exchange notes on Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Indian officials pointed out that India and the US have been exchanging information on counter-terrorism and sharing intelligence, particularly since the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

Top US counter-terrorism officials, including US Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper and Deputy Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute, are part of the 25-member delegation accompanying Clinton on her four-day visit that will also take her to Chennai.

The Indian delegation will include Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia; Sam Pitroda, Advisor to Prime Minister; Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao; Foreign Secretary Designate Ranjan Mathai; Nehchal Sandhu, Director of the Intelligence Bureau; and other senior officials. Sandhu and Clapper are expected to make presentations on intelligence-sharing and counter-terrorism cooperation during the talks.

Sources said India and the US would discuss an entire gamut of issues, including strategic cooperation, energy and climate change, education, science and technology, health and defence. The two sides are also expected to put their concerns over the nuclear deal on the table. India will seek a fresh assurance from the US that the new guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group which deny access to enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technologies to countries which have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will not impinge on Washington's commitment to implement full civilian nuclear cooperation with India.

The situation in Afghanistan would prominently figure in the strategic dialogue. Clinton is expected to brief India on its negotiations with a section of the Taliban and reiterate the importance of India's role in the reconstruction of that country. The sources said that India has been assured by the US and other interlocutors that the red lines drawn at the London Donor's Conference and reaffirmed at the Kabul conference on Afghanistan last year would be adhered to while negotiating the terms of reconciliation.

The strategic dialogue provides an opportunity to the two countries to take stock of the progress in bilateral relationship, bilateral cooperation, as well as to consult on global and regional issues of interest, besides charting out a short to medium-term roadmap of cooperation in priority sectors for the two governments.

The strategic dialogue mechanism has come to be regarded as one of the very effective mechanisms to maintain the momentum of the rapidly deepening and expanding global strategic partnership that was outlined by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama during Prime Minister’s state visit to Washington in November 2009. It was reaffirmed during Obama’s reciprocal state visit to India in November last year. 

focus of Talks

n Strategic cooperation, energy and climate change, education, science & technology, health & defence

n Concerns over N-deal. India to seek a fresh assurance from the US on new NSG guidelines

n Situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan





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