Burns to meet Modi with Obama’s invite

Kerry to arrive for Strategic Dialogue with Sushma on July 31

July 11, 2014 05:23 am | Updated November 16, 2021 06:56 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Top U.S. diplomat Bill Burns will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday to deliver U.S. President Obama’s invitation for him to visit Washington at the end of September, when he attends the U.N. General Assembly.

On Thursday, Mr. Burns met Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Home Minister Rajnath Singh to set the stage for the Strategic Dialogue between Secretary of State John Kerry and Ms. Swaraj, that will be held in Delhi on July 31.

After his meeting with Mr. Jaitley, Mr. Burns told reporters that “America has a deep stake in India’s success as well as that of PM Modi. President Obama looks forward to his visit to Washington.” Asked by The Hindu about the revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency had sought permission to put the BJP under surveillance, Mr. Burns said the issue hadn’t come up. “We are confining those discussions to diplomatic channels,” he said, referring to the government’s upset over the issue.Sources said Mr. Burns also paved the way for other high-level visits expected from the U.S. before Mr. Modi’s trip to Washington, including that of Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel. Apart from moving forward on the nuclear deal by signing commercial agreements, the U.S. is also keen to discuss India’s interest in the FGM-148 Javelin missile, built by U.S. companies Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, with a view to supplying the Indian Army with anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), or to co-develop them. U.S. Senator John McCain, who represents Arizona, where the Javelin is produced, also met with the PM and the Defence Ministry.

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