US working on ambitious roadmap for Modi-Obama meeting: Biswal

Written by PTI | New York | Updated: Aug 15 2014, 17:50pm hrs
Nisha Desai BiswalNisha Desai Biswal said the India-US relationship is at a "pivotal moment of opportunity". (Reuters)
The US is looking forward to a "very substantive and consequential" visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington laternext month and is working on a "pretty ambitious roadmap" for his bilateral meeting with President Barack Obama, a top American official said.

"We have a pretty ambitious roadmap and workload over the next six weeks and we look forward to a very substantive and consequential visit for Prime Minister (Modi) and look forward to being able to really put a great deal of meat on the bones in terms of this very important relationship that the President has characterised as a defining partnership for the US in the 21st century," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told reporters here.

Speaking atthe Foreign Press Centre on 'US Foreign Policy Priorities in India', Biswal said the India-US relationship is at a "pivotal moment of opportunity".

"This is a relationship that carries a great deal of importance and meaning to the US and is at a critical moment of opportunity and we want to make sure wework very closely with our counterparts in India in realising that opportunity," she said.

India and the US discussed a broad range of issues in the Strategic Dialogue that was chaired by US Secretary of State John Kerry and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on August 1.

The dialogue focussed on strengthening cooperation in economic opportunity, energy security, homeland security, education, space andvocational training.

"These are all areas where we are looking to see some concrete announcements. I don't have that to give to you right now but that is what the homework assignment has been for the two sides to be working on over the next six weeks," Biswal said.

She said that Kerry and Modi were "very focussed" on taking all of the "positive energy" of the Strategic Dialogue and their first meeting and "making it, translating it into concrete actions".

The two "essentially tasked both teams to work together over the next six weeks to see how we can create some specific initiatives, specific actions that can be launched during the visit of Modi in September.

"This is a very broad relationship between our two countries and societies. It is not about one or two things, it is about how we are partnering across thislarge scope of our two democracies to advance shared goals and objectives," she said.

Biswal said there would be "very broad discussions" between the two leaders that will encompass a wide range of issues.

"We will be looking to see how we can strengthen and deepen the partnership and where we see great areas of convergence and what we can do where we see areasof divergence try to bring more convergence in those areas," she said adding that the US is looking at a very "robust agenda" and looking forward to Modi's visit.