In a special gesture, the Obama Administration has invited Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao to Washington on Monday for discussions on bilateral matters and issues of mutual interest despite its pre-occupation with the crucial UN General Assembly session in New York.

Ms. Rao has been invited by her American counterpart William Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, sources told PTI.

They said that Ms. Rao would come to Washington from New York for a day to attend the meeting with Mr. Burns, scheduled for Monday, and then return to the Big Apple to continue with her regular schedule at the United Nations. Mr. Burns too would possibly head back to New York.

At a time when the entire Obama Administration is in New York, including President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to attend the annual UN General Assembly session, the invitation to Ms. Rao from Mr. Burns is being seen as a “major gesture” from the US.

It is also a clear reflection of the strengthening of relationship between the two countries, as normally when the US President and Secretary of State are in New York, the Administration as a normal rule does not encourage leaders and diplomats from other countries to come to Washington.

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