U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal will meet with MEA officials on Monday, the first such engagement between India and the U.S. after the Narendra Modi-led government took over. The visit, which the U.S. requested, will see Ms. Biswal and the newly appointed US Charge d’Affaires Kathleen Stephens try to reset the India-U.S. relationship that has come through tense times.
In meetings with officials who deal with the Americas, as well as Ms. Biswal’s counterpart on Central Asian countries, the two sides will discuss upcoming engagements including the India-US-Japan trilateral talks on June 23-24, as well as the next round of the India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue expected shortly after that. But “residual issues” from the Devyani Khobragade case will be discussed, sources told The Hindu, especially the ironing out of exactly what privileges and immunities diplomats of both countries will enjoy. In the past few months, India made it clear all such privileges will only be offered to the U.S. on a reciprocal basis.
No meeting has been confirmed with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, however Ms. Biswal is likely to call on Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh. She will also engage with different think tanks in the capital on restoring good relations between India and the U.S. The issue which will remain unspoken, however, is that of Mr. Modi’s visa revocation by the U.S. in 2005. Speaking on the sidelines of a function on Sunday, Mr. Modi simply said, “Relations between two countries do not depend on any one person.”
This article has been corrected for an editing error.
Keywords: Biswal-MEA officials meet