Kerry in India for strategic, commercial talks

by Lawrence Cooper August 31, 2016, 1:29

Kerry reiterated that India and the U.S. are more deeply engaged than ever before because of the respect that we have for each other and the personal bond of President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

New Delhi has rejected Pakistan's invitation to hold talks on the future of Jammu and Kashmir, India's northernmost state, saying it is an integral part of the nation.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the US continues to support all efforts to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai and Pathankot terror attacks to justice, and added that there can be no distinction between "good and bad" terror.

"There was discussion on terror and clearly we agreed on all points", Sushma said.

During the meeting, Swaraj also sought U.S. cooperation in securing membership at the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) and the coveted trade grouping Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

Kerry is India to attend the 2nd Indo-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue to be held Tuesday where terrorism emanating from Pakistan and other important issues, including economic matters like visas, will be discussed.

India's Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, said she hoped the next US president would continue the dialogue that also seeks inputs from companies, which this year included e-commerce giant Amazon and wireless technology firm Qualcomm.

On Monday, Indian authorities lifted a curfew imposed in most parts of India-controlled Kashmir as part of a 52-day security lockdown.

John Kerry is participating in the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue along with US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

"We repeated our stand that Pakistan should stop providing safe havens to terror groups. No nation should adopt double standards on terrorism such as differentiating between good terrorists and bad terrorists", she said.

The bilateral cooperation under the aegis of S&CD has yielded fruitful gains to both the nations and both sides would be looking forward to maintain the momentum further in the current S&CD.

'We agree on additional measures to strengthen our counterterrorism, ' said Swaraj. "We will intensify intelligence sharing".

"We have agreed now to move forward on six Westing House nuclear reactors which will provide energy for six million Indians, not to mention the enormous number of jobs (it will create)".

The deal involving USA giant Westinghouse has been held up in the past by concerns over an Indian law that would make United States companies liable for accidents at plants they helped build.

The talks in Delhi come shortly after United States and India signed a pact in Washington to share military assets and bases, a move towards consolidating defence ties.

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter (L) and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar attend a press conference at the Pentagon on August 29, 2016 in Washington.

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