Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai is in Washington on a three-day visit.
Mr. Mathai could meet the new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry but many of his interactions are designed to help him pick up the threads of earlier India-U.S. talks on energy and defence.
He will also cover the entire range of bilateral issues, including the regional trouble spots, during Foreign Office consultations with Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
Among other senior officials he will meet are Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and his counterparts in the Energy and Defence Ministries, Daniel Poneman and Ashton Carter.
He will also meet Under Secretary of State for Energy, Economic Growth and the Environment Robert Hormats.
A high-ranking Indian official had met senior U.S. Administration officers on the sidelines of an international conference in Europe and is believed to have touched on the topics of joint R & D and transfer of high-end technology.
India has imported arms almost worth $10 billion from the U.S. and an almost equal amount from Washington’s close ally Israel. The shift from a buyer-seller relationship with Israel has made some progress. With the U.S.-based defence conglomerates this has still not been the case.
During the Bush Presidency’s bonhomie days, the U.S. had made the path easier by removing several Indian companies from a restricted list. This made it almost impossible for them to get high-end and, often, dual use technologies. India feels the gesture of taking off some Indian companies from the export control list has so far had only symbolic value.
In energy, the U.S. has been asking Indian companies to explore options in shale gas. Officials here said a delegation of state-owned energy companies led by Minister of Petroleum Veerappa Moily visited the U.S. to get a grip on the regulatory system.
Following extensive consultations, the U.S. persuaded India to adopt its model of revenue sharing instead of adopting the Canadian pattern. This could make it easier for Indian companies to think of basing themselves in the U.S. and tap Canadian shale gas from a pipeline that could be built into the heart of America.
Mr. Mathai could also be discussing the timing and content of the next round of strategic dialogue that will see two new Foreign Ministers — Salman Khurshid and John Kerry — at the head of their delegations.