Friday 12th April 2024
Durbar Marg, Kathmandu

The US secretary of state is scheduled to visit India from July 27 to 28. It is expected that he will raise issues between India and Pakistan at the negotiations held between US President Barack Obama and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in Washington. US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is also scheduled to visit India later in the same month. The timing of her visit is yet uncertain. The first visit by a US Secretary of State to India was during the tenure of Indira Gandhi in the early 1990s.

At that time she raised issues between India and the US over the Sitamoy incident which took place on Indian soil. However, later Indian Foreign Minister Salman Banjara publicly distanced himself from the incident claiming that there was no contingency plan related to the attack on the US consulate in the city of the consulate. Later in another speech, Banjara recalled that he had conveyed to the US secretary of state about the incident to Indian authorities but did not expect any formal communique from the US side.

Since then there has been no regular foreign visit by the US Secretary of State to India. During the tenure of former US President George W. Bush Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi welcomed US President Bill Clinton and offered him a warm welcome. In fact both the leaders met in New Delhi in November for the first time
since the latter visited India. The talks during that meeting too went favorably for the Indians.

During the visit by Clinton, there was a declaration of support from the two countries for the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This move helped financially troubled countries such as India and Pakistan to get monetary assistance. This fund is meant to assist these countries in getting rid of their huge debts. Also, it is very important for the US to maintain its good relations with its neighbors and form trade alliances which are in favor of both the
countries.

On the other hand, foreign heads who were present at the talks included foreign ministers of Russia, Germany, Japan, France, and England. Among these four, Russia’s foreign minister Andrei Kozyulin was the most active in trying to make the visit successful. He has tried to propose that the US should come to help with the dearth of Russian assistance for Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, two countries that are badly affected by the anti-Moscow policy of the country.

This visit by the US Secretary of State marks the first time that such high officials have visited India. Besides, it is also expected to pave the way for further enhanced US-India cooperation in fighting terrorism, which is highly needed in both countries. The talks are also being handled carefully so that no unfortunate misunderstanding takes place at any point during the visit.

India expects great results from this visit by US top officials, especially since it comes at a time when bilateral ties between the two countries are at a low because of Washington’s tough stand on Pakistan. However, the rise of China as a regional power can only boost bilateral ties between New Delhi and Washington in all possible fields.

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