The meeting of the 4th India-US Strategic Dialogue has begun in New Delhi.

The meeting is co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and the visiting US Secretary of State, John Kerry. Accompanied by a high-level delegation, Mr Kerry arrived in New Delhi last evening on a three-day visit to India. The delegation includes US Energy Secretary, NASA Director, US Military Chief for the Pacific Region and top officials from the State Department and Home- Land Security. This is Mr Kerry's first visit to India after his appointment as the US Secretary of State.

This is the first high level political interaction with New Delhi in the second term of Obama Presidency and expected to push forward the India-US relationship. The visiting dignitary will also meet Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. Mr Kerry will also co-chair India and US Higher Education Dialogue tomorrow with Human Resource Development Minister Dr M M Pallam Raju.

Bilateral trade, defense and security cooperation besides energy and higher education will top the agenda of talks between Mr Kerry and Indian leaders. New Delhi will also raise its concerns about the H1B and L-category visas, which have been a matter of serious concern among the Indian Industry, particularly, the IT sector. The issue of market access, nuclear liability bill and American National Security Agency's internet snooping program are also expected to figure in the discussions. India will also seek information from Washington on the opening of a Taliban Office in Qatar. Afghanistan will be a major discussion point in view of the phased withdrawal of American and NATO troops from Kabul early next year.

Our Correspondent reports that the strategic dialogue is one of the premier mechanism in the dialogue architecture between the two countries. It gives both sides an opportunity to carry out some stock-taking of the relationship since the dialogue last year and also to try and set a new vision for the future.
 
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