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US Energy Secretary to visit India next month

February 20, 2014 09:50 IST

Ernest J MonizUS Energy Secretary Ernest J Moniz will travel to India in March to revive the bilateral energy dialogue postponed last month because of diplomatic dispute between the two countries.

Moniz, who is expected to meet Indian officials on March 10 and 11, had put off the trip last month in view of the strained relations between the two countries over the arrest of senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York on alleged visa fraud charges.

"I'll be going to India, in fact, in about two weeks," Moniz told journalists.

The Energy Secretary is expected to have talks on wide range of energy issues in particular those related to export of US shale gas to India, new and renewable sources of energy like solar and wind.

This would be the first visit of a US Cabinet Minister after the Devyani episode.

A delegation of top US officials is expected to visit India for working group meetings on March 5.

Five working groups that have been set up under the initiative are: oil and gas, coal, power and energy efficiency, new technologies and renewable energy and civil nuclear co-operation.

Officials familiar with the trip said preparations are on for the two countries to sign the memorandum of understanding on India-US Partnership to Advance Clean Energy.

Launched by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama in 2009, PACE is expected to pave the way for energy to millions of Indian households.

Moniz's visit for the India-US Energy Dialogue is considered to be an important one for both the countries after a summit between the two leaders in White House in September last year.

Both the leaders had identified co-operation in the energy sector as an important pillar of India-US Strategic Partnership. In fact, clean energy was the focus of Kerry's India visit last summer.

During their meeting, Obama and Singh had discussed ways to strengthen bilateral efforts to promote energy efficiency, clean energy, and address climate change.

The US-India Energy Dialogue was launched on May 31, 2005 to promote increased trade and investment in the energy sector.

The last India-US Energy Dialogue took place in September 2012.

Photograph: Ernest J Moniz

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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