Hillary to arrive in India today for talks

New Delhi: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive in New Delhi on Monday to attend the second round of the Indo-US strategic dialogue tomorrow during which a host of key bilateral, regional and international issues including the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan and security cooperation in the backdrop of recent Mumbai blasts will be discussed.

Hillary, who will be in India for a two-day official trip, will hold talks with her counterpart, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, apart from calling on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and meeting National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon.

On Tuesday, the US Secretary of State will hold a breakfast meeting with the National Security Adviser followed by the Indo-US dialogue after which she will call on the Prime Minister and will meet several senior political leaders including UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Clinton will be travelling to Chennai on Wednesday where she is likely to meet representatives of US companies.

Besides the situation in the region, civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries will also be part of the strategic dialogue during which India is also expected to talk about the American visa regime which is impacting the movement of Indian IT professionals in that country.

The dialogue is based on five pillars which include strategic cooperation in defence and counter-terrorism, energy and trade.

Clinton and Krishna had launched the India-US Strategic Dialogue in 2009 to provide a framework and strategic direction for the huge range of bilateral government-to-government activity between the two countries.

The first meeting of the strategic dialogue was held in Washington last year.

The strategic dialogue provides an opportunity to take stock of the progress in bilateral relationship and cooperation and to consult on global and regional issues of interest, besides charting out a short to medium-term roadmap of cooperation in priority sectors for the two governments, a spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said.