The U.S. and India, along with Japan, are preparing to hold three-way talks beginning later in June, and the interactions are seen as a precursor to the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Barack Obama scheduled for September.
The three nations are reportedly expected to discuss the region's economy as well as its disaster preparedness, the Press Trust of India, or PTI, reported. Following the three-way talks, scheduled for June 23 and June 24 in New Delhi, American and Indian delegates will work to schedule a meeting between India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as put together a process for dialog on issues such as trade and defense, according to PTI.
“Moving forward on trade and investment is critical to this relationship. We have long said this was one of the important pillars of this relationship,” a source said, according to Mint, a local business newspaper. “Much of this will wait till we have clear policy lines laid out by the budget,” the source reportedly said.
A call from Obama to Modi on May 16, the day when India's election results were announced and Modi became prime minister-elect, capped a gradual thawing in relations between Modi and the U.S., which had denied him a U.S. visa in 2005, citing the 2002 communal riots in the western state of Gujarat, of which he was chief minister at the time.
“I think it was a serious mistake on the part of the last (Bush) administration to do that (deny Modi a visa) and the current (Obama) administration to keep it in place... all the way till the Indian elections,” Robert Blackwill, a former U.S. ambassador to India, said, according to Mint.