A senior U.S. official held talks with Indian Foreign Ministry officials on Wednesday, two months after she postponed a visit owing to the Devyani Khobragade episode. Official sources said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal met officials, including Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, to discuss ways to energise the existing dialogue mechanisms and “generate fresh momentum over the next few months.” She also held talks on India-U.S. relations with her counterpart — Joint Secretary for Americas in the Ministry of External Affairs.
Ms. Biswal had planned to visit India in January, but she opted out after Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi declined to meet a U.S. Congressional delegation in protest against the arrest of the Indian diplomat.
During her call on Ms. Singh, measures to “achieve progress in resolving to mutual satisfaction issues that have emerged on either side in recent months” were discussed, official sources said.
“The Foreign Secretary underlined the need for officials on both sides to expeditiously resolve outstanding issues, to enable both sides to focus their energies on the substantive and strategic issues that underpin this vital partnership,” the sources added.
Despite discord on trade related issues as well as the Khobragade episode, official sources said both sides reaffirmed the priority attached to the India-U.S. strategic partnership. Particular mention was made of the upcoming visits, including U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz’s visit next week for the bilateral Energy Dialogue.