John Kerry Visits India
US Secretary of State John Kerry made his maiden visit to India after assuming office. Sources claim that John Kerry made efforts to bring closure to the Indo-US nuclear deal apart from pushing strategic defence sales. Kerry also co-chaired the Indo-US strategic dialogue with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In addition, Washington hopes to secure a large share of the Indian defence market where India has already spent nearly $40 billion for defence procurement.
During his visit, Kerry also addressed Indian concerns over the US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. According to Kerry, the Obama admin- istration believes that a strong India will be in the national interest of Washington. US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz also accompanied Kerry, as the latter discussed issues such as climate change and education. Kerry’s visit comes less than a year before India goes to the polls, with Gujarat’s State Minister, Narendra Modi heading the opposition.
Furthermore, New Delhi is expecting to seal deals worth billions of dollars for helicopters, howitzer guns, weapons systems and platforms with the US. Several deals through the foreign military sales (FMS) route are in the pipeline and are expected to be finalised in 2013-14. Kerry’s visit was deemed a success as New Delhi and Washington discussed issues related to bilateral trade and weapons deals.