John Kerry Vis­its In­dia

Southasia - - BRIEFING -

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.

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