Clinton arrives, Mumbai blasts and n-deal to top talks (Lead)

July 18th, 2011 - 11:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touched down here Monday night to begin a three-day visit during which India and the US will hold their second strategic dialogue to discuss counter-terror cooperation, the civil nuclear deal and shared concerns over Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Clinton will co-chair the second strategic dialogue with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Tuesday. She will also call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

India and the US will discuss an entire gamut of issues including strategic cooperation, counter-terrorism, energy and climate change, education, science and technology, health and defence, officials said.

With the July 13 Mumbai blasts putting the focus on increased security cooperation, India is likely to seek the US for assistance in probing the bombings. It’s not yet clear what kind of cooperation India may want from the US on this.

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 among those accompanying Clinton to India.

The Indian delegation would include Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Adviser to the Prime Minister Sam Pitroda, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, Foreign Secretary-designate Ranjan Mathai, the secretaries of home, commerce and environment ministries. Nehchal Sandhu, director, Intelligence Bureau, will also participate in the discussions.

India is also expected to 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 moderate Taliban and reiterate the importance of India’s role in the reconstruction of that country.

India is expected to brief the US on the forthcoming foreign minister-level talks it will have with Pakistan later this month.

She will also go to Chennai Wednesday, the hub of high-value American investments.

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