By Persis Khambatta, Guruamrit Khalsa, Samir Nair
Jun 21, 2013
This year’s U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue will be held in New Delhi on June 24, and will be led by Secretary of State John Kerry and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid of India. Secretary Kerry will be leading a “whole of government delegation” which will include Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command Samuel Locklear, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, and the White House’s Director of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren, among others.
Q1: What is the purpose of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue?
A1: The U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue (SD) was launched in 2010 by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna. It serves as the capstone dialogue between the two countries. It is the highest level regularly scheduled dialogue between the two governments, as evidenced by the leadership of both delegations. The United States and India have over 20 other ongoing dialogues between corresponding departments on subjects ranging from higher education to trade, agriculture and homeland security. The SD takes into account the progress being made within all of these more specific policy areas and directs their focus into the broader framework of U.S.-Indian relations. It reflects a commitment between both nations to capitalize on areas of strategic convergence, intensify their levels of cooperation, and to resolve issues that inevitably arise in the relationship.
Q2: What happened at the last U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue?
A2: The last Strategic Dialogue was held in Washington in June 2012. The delegations were led by Clinton and Krishna. The joint statement issued afterwards emphasized the broadly shared interests of the two nations, particularly in the fields of counterterrorism, regional security, energy, climate change and trade, among many others. However, since the last dialogue, there have been some troubling economic policy developments affecting tax policy, foreign investment, and local content requirements, which might be addressed at the June 24 meeting.
Q3: What are some of the key issues that will be discussed at this year’s Strategic Dialogue?
A3: This year’s SD is set against a backdrop of a rapidly changing strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific. India is particularly concerned about the scheduled U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. The United States and India will discuss their continued engagement with Afghanistan, both in terms of security and economic development, and recent developments including possible talks with the Taliban.