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US, India set to hold first strategic and commercial dialogue

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India and the US will hold their first strategic and commercial dialogue here from Monday ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second visit to the US in as many years next week.

Announcing the two-day dialogue on September 21-22, the US Commerce Department noted that during President Barack Obama’s January visit to India, he and Modi had elevated the existing Strategic Dialogue to the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue to reflect the growing significance of the US-India economic relationship.

The US and Indian sides will be led by Secretary of State John Kerry and Commerce Secretary of Penny Pritzker and their respective Indian co-chairs, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Since 2010, the US-India Strategic Dialogue has been the primary forum to advance shared objectives in regional security, economic cooperation, defence trade and climate challenges, the announcement said.

“With a new commercial track, the US and India will focus additional attention on shared priorities of generating economic growth, creating jobs, improving the investment climate, and strengthening the middle class in both countries,” it said.

Later on Monday evening, US Vice President Joe Biden, Kerry and Sushma Swaraj will address a conclave of corporate America.

Other high-ranking government officials as also captains of industry from both countries, will also address the US-India Business Council’s 40th Annual Leadership Summit.

To increase the role of the private sector, the Commerce Department will host the US-India CEO Forum on September 21, in close proximity to the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.

The CEO Forum is the primary mechanism for engaging the US and Indian private sectors and leveraging business leaders’ recommendations to shape policy making discussions.

As part of the CEO Forum, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will host a half-day event featuring remarks from Pritzker and Sitharaman, and a discussion between US and Indian CEOs on efforts to deepen bilateral economic engagement.

The US CEOs selected for this year’s Forum include Ajay Banga, president and CEO of MasterCard, Inc; Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors; Sanjay Bhatnagar, president and CEO of WaterHealth International; Shantanu Narayen, president and CEO of Adobe Systems, Inc. Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, Inc.; and Dinesh Paliwal, chairman, president and CEO of Harman International Industries.

David Cote, chairman and CEO of Honeywell International, Inc is the forum co-chair.

(IANS)