India's Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao on Thursday met her U.S. counterpart, Under-Secretary William Burns, according to the State Department.
A senior official on the Indian side told The Hindu that the Foreign Secretary-level dialogue was close to President Barack Obama's visit to India — slated for early November.
He said the talks were thus “preparatory to the summit,” and they also focussed on reviewing the issues that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna discussed a couple of months ago, as part of the Indo-U.S. Strategic Dialogue of June.
Industry Minister Anand Sharma and senior Indian officials will be in Washington for a slew of meetings over the coming week.
India's Ambassador Meera Shankar told at the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs this week, “We hope that President Obama's upcoming visit would prove to be a major step forward in not only consolidating what our two democracies have jointly achieved but also for working together in areas where we are yet to see concrete progress, including genuine reform of international institutions with India given its due place.”
In a defining speech made on the sidelines of the Strategic Dialogue, Mr. Burns had specifically reiterated the U.S.' support for India holding a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Ms. Shankar touched upon that theme again in her speech, saying “The growing support for a permanent seat for India in the U.N. Security Council would no doubt go a long way in enabling India to play its role to its full potential and in realising the idea of India-U.S. relations being a key strategic partnership of the 21st century.”
She added that India keenly looked forward to the visit of the President. The state visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Washington last year had “focussed on going beyond just the bilateral dimensions of this relationship to forge a global partnership.”