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Kerry in India: Trade, regional security in focus
June 24, 2013, 5:32 am

Kerry has stressed that India is a "key partner" of the US "rebalance" in Asia. [AP Images]

Kerry has stressed that India is a “key partner” of the US “rebalance” in Asia [AP Images]

US secretary of state John Kerry arrived in New Delhi on Sunday for a two-day visit to attend the fourth US-India Strategic Dialogue.

In a keynote speech in New Delhi on Sunday night, Kerry referred to the devastating floods in northern India, drawing attention to global climate change, saying that “in many ways, in many places, Mother Nature is telling us to heed the warnings.”

Kerry has called for Indo-US cooperation on developing clean technologies even as the US steps up pressure for India to commit to targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“We should work constructively side-by-side in the UN climate negotiations…If we do this right, it won’t hurt our economies – it will grow them,” he said.

Talks on trade and regional security are expected to dominate the fourth US-India Strategic Dialogue.

India and the US have been recently engaged in some major trade disputes that have ended up at the World Trade Organisations’s (WTO) dispute panel.

India has maintained that sectoral pacts, being “cherry-picked” by the US and EU are preferential and adversely affects developing countries such as BRICS.

Meanwhile, the high profile delegation with Kerry on Sunday, includes the US energy secretary, Ernest Moniz; Admiral Samuel Locklear III, head of the Pacific Command; and senior homeland security, science and international development officials.

Kerry has stressed that India is a “key partner” of the US “rebalance” in Asia.

America’s military pivot towards Asia, moving away from middle-east engagements and towards ensuring China does not dominate the Asian region has been a sore issue in Sino-US ties.

Earlier in January this year, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, in response to a Reuters request, revealed that arms sales agreements to US allies in Asia “rose to $13.7 billion in fiscal 2012, up 5.4 per cent from a year before”.

Kerry on Sunday sought to detract criticism of US efforts to pit India against China by saying the partnership is not a threat to any other country.

“The world’s largest democracy and its oldest one must do more together, uniting not as a threat to anyone, not as a counterweight to a region or some other countries, but as partners building a strong, smart future in a critical age,” Kerry said.

US President Obama had earlier called Indo-US ties one of the “defining partnerships” of the 21st century.

The Indo-US Strategic Dialogue, started in 2009, is a forum for discussing the full range of India-US cooperation on bilateral and regional issues.

With inputs from Agencies