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Confident that India-US bilateral trade can increase to $500bn: John Kerry

Washington: India and the US on Tuesday kicked off the first strategic and commercial dialogue with a focus on boosting trade ties and enhancing regional security ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with President
PTI September 22, 2015 23:16 IST
PTI

Washington: India and the US on Tuesday kicked off the first strategic and commercial dialogue with a focus on boosting trade ties and enhancing regional security ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with President Barack Obama.

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.

Kerry said India and the US can together shape up more secure and prosperous future.

He said the US was not satisfied with the current level of bilateral trade at $100 billion and expressed confidence that it could be increased five-fold in the next few years.

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Kerry said that Prime Minister Modi will meet President Obama next week.

"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," Swaraj said.

"The emerging context of the India-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.

Swaraj said the narrative and specifics of substantive cooperative agenda were shaped by increasing convergences of strategic interests and mutual concerns, including in the Indian Ocean Region and the Asia-Pacific.

"A strong intent to tailor the relationship to harness political synergies and optimize economic complementarities, bilaterally, regionally and globally, permeates India's approach to its ties with the US," the minister said.

Defence and security cooperation, strategic political engagement including in the field of civil nuclear cooperation, science and technology, health, space, energy, trade and investment are some of the domains where the two nations have sustained intense delivery oriented engagement, she said.

"In some other domains though, creativity and shaper focus would ensure that we meet mutually agreed objectives and targets," Swaraj said.

"This dialogue provides us the opportunity to assess where we stand in terms of the goals that we had set for ourselves and set targets and objectives for the future. It is also important that we give ourselves timelines to achieve the targets. We should also be in a position to present to our leaders a clear vision of the road ahead," she added.

"We firmly believe that an economically prosperous India offers a long term opportunity to the US industry and capital," 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 here on Monday to lead the Indian delegation for the dialogue which also includes commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman and power minister Piyush Goyal.