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Mathai to hold talks on Iran, nuke deal with top US officials

February 06, 2012 12:10 IST

India and the United States will discuss a host of bilateral and regional issues during talks between top American officials and Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, who arrived in Washington on Sunday.

Mathai, who is in Washington on his first bilateral visit to the US, would also drive down to the Capitol Hill during his four-day trip to meet top US lawmakers.

"They (Mathai and State Department officials) are of course going to discuss all the issues that fall under our strong bilateral relationship, as well as many global issues," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

Responding to a question on Iranian sanctions and their implications on its partners and allies like India, Toner said the US was talking to its allies and partners throughout the world on the latest curbs on Tehran.

"We are trying to do it in a fashion that doesn't put undue pressure on our partners in this process," he said.

A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Mathai's visit would give them a chance to speak to the top Indian diplomat on New Delhi's stand on Iran sanctions, besides discussing ongoing developments in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, India-Pakistan dialogue and the Afghanistan reconciliation process.

Mathai, in his talks with US officials at the State Department and the White House, is expected to discuss a range of bilateral issues, including the civil nuclear deal ahead of the India-US Strategic Dialogue this year.

He is scheduled to speak on Building on Convergence: Deepening the India-US Strategic Partnership at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies on Monday.

Lalit K Jha In Washington
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