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Playing all June: India, US strategic bonhomie

June 01, 2012 14:29 IST

The US has decided to give top priority to its ties with India, which is reflected in an unprecedented series of high-level exchange of visits between the two countries this month aimed at taking forward their cooperation in areas like defence, trade and education.

Defence Secretary Leon Panetta would spend two days in New Delhi next week as part of a visit aimed at taking the military-to-military relationship between the two countries to the next level.

By June end, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is scheduled to land in India for economic and business talks with his Indian counterpart.

And in between, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has decided to go out of her way to co-chair at least three Cabinet level meetings/summits with Indian ministers, including the third round of Strategic Dialogue in Washington with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on June 13.

The Indian delegation would be represented by four Cabinet Ministers and two Cabinet-level officials.

In fact, given the number of events that have been scheduled in and around June 13, it is being called as Indian week in Washington.

A day before the India-US Strategic Dialogue, Clinton would co-chair with Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal the Education Dialogue -- which is a follow up to the first meeting held in New Delhi last year -- on June 12.

Sibal would be accompanied by a number of Indian education officials and representatives from Indian universities and educational institutions.

On June 11, Science and Technology Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh would co-chair a meeting with his US counterpart discussing cooperation in the field of science and technology.

The ministerial talks would be preceded by the official-level meetings on science and technology on June 8.

The business community too is pitching in with their contribution.

Clinton and Krishna are scheduled to address the 37th anniversary of "Leadership Summit" of US-India Business Council (USIBC) on June 12, a day before the Strategic Dialogue.

This event would be preceded by "Economic Summit" being co-hosted by the USIBC and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

On June 14 and 15, Clinton would co-chair with Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad the unique multilateral summit on "Child Survival" that would address issues like child mortality, nutrition and related issues.

Besides, Krishna, Sibal, Deshmukh and Azad; the Indian delegation for the Strategic Dialogue would be represented by Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Sam Pitroda, advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations and chairman of National Innovation Council.

The month begins with the meeting of the India-US Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism on June 1 and the India-US Joint Working Group on Information and Communications (ICT) on June 7 and 8.

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