M A I N   N E W S

Kerry pushes for bilateral investment pact

John Kerry New Delhi, June 23
Setting the tone for the fourth round of Indo-US strategic dialogue tomorrow, visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry today pushed for a bilateral investment treaty to bolster investor confidence in India and expressed concerns over trade barriers.

Kerry, who arrived here this evening accompanied by a high-level delegation, expressed America’s concerns on various issues, including providing greater access to Indian markets, intellectual property rights and the need for “full” implementation of the India-US civil nuclear deal.

The US top diplomat, who is on his first visit to India after assuming the charge of the State Department earlier this year, referred to these issues in his first public comments after his arrival.

“We need to conclude a bilateral investment treaty as soon as possible, which is an important step to bolstering investor confidence in both countries,” he said.

The Secretary of State also sought partnership with India and highlighted the need to tackle three major challenges — climate change, security and survival.

Kerry’s visit coincided with the announcement by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to invest $100 million in India’s burgeoning clean energy sector.

He said the US welcomed the increasing trade ties between India and Pakistan and also asked India to play a “central role” in Afghanistan’s 2014 elections.

He offered his condolences for the “heartbreaking loss of lives” in the Uttarakhand floods and announced a $1.5 lakh aid.

“The world’s largest democracy and the world’s oldest democracy must do more together uniting not only as a threat to anyone, to counter-weigh some region or other countries, but unite as partners building a strong future in a critical age,” Kerry said.

He said he strongly believed in the Hindi proverb “ek aur ek gyarah hote hai” (one and one makes 11).

Kerry will co-chair the India-US strategic dialogue with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid during which key issues such as bilateral trade, defence and security cooperation besides energy and higher education would be discussed. — PTI





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