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India-US third strategic dialogue next week

Washington: External Affairs Minister S M Krishna would lead a high powered Indian delegation to the US next week for the third India-US Strategic Dialogue that would focus on human development and enhancing people to people relationship, officials here said.

Krishna, who will arrive here on June 11 on a four-day visit, will co-chair the dialogue with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. While the Strategic Dialogue in itself is scheduled for June 13, a series of high-level official and non-official meetings have been scheduled for next week, officials said.

They, however, remained tight-lipped on what would be the outcome of this annual top-level talks between the two countries which by all accounts would be the last one with Clinton as the Secretary of State.

At the Strategic Dialogue, Krishna would be accompanied by Science and Technology Minister Vilasrao Desmukh, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister of State for Women & Child Development Krishna Tirath, and Minister of State Ashwin Kumar.

Also accompanying Krishna will be deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and Advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations Sam Pitroda, who is also the Chairman of National Innovation Council.

On June 12, Clinton would co-chair with the Indian Human Resources Development Minister, Kapil Sibal, a day-long Higher Education Dialogue which is a follow-on to last fall`s Higher Education Summit. This will focus on advanced research and innovation and workforce development, specifically, community colleges.

As a result of the day-long dialogue, the two countries are expected to announce the first eight partnership projects to be funded jointly by the US and India through the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative, officials said.

On June 11, Desmukh would co-chair a meeting with his American counterpart discussing cooperation in the field of science and technology. The ministerial would be preceded by the official level meetings on science and technology on June 8.

Representatives from more than 15 US Government agencies and research institutions will meet with their Indian counterparts this year to expand cooperation in the Basic and Applied Sciences, Health and Medical Sciences, and Atmospheric, Environment and Earth Sciences.
It will feature thematic discussions on policy initiatives to strengthen bilateral research cooperation, to commercialise research and to retain and advance women in science.

Officials said Krishna would also address the annual gala of the US India Business Council (USIBC). Moving away from bilateral co-operation, US and India along with Ethiopia will be convening, in collaboration with UNICEF a `Call to Action` on child survival from June 14-15.

Focused on ending preventable child deaths through survival of newborns, children and mothers, the two-day event will convene 700 prominent leaders from government, the private sector, and civil society to kick off a long-term, business-like effort to save children`s lives.

Besides Clinton and Azad, the meeting would be addressed by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Minister of Health of Ethiopia and Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF.

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