Biden, Kerry with Indian Minister Swaraj Launch Strategic and Commercial Dialogue

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Washington, DC – Top level officials from two democracies, the US and India met to launch a high-level “strategic and commercial dialogue” today (September 21) to bolster trade between two nations. The event was on the eve of a bilateral meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama. The two leaders are expected to meet on September 28 on the sidelines of the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA).

Inaugurating the US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue at a US-India Business Council (USIBC) event, US Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj addressed a select audience of high-ranking officials from both governments and industry.

Biden in his address highlighted the importance of the US-India trade relationship and the US commitment to growing bilateral trade to $500 billion over the next few years.

Calling it a “propitious moment in the US-India relationship,” Biden declared, “Our goal is to become India’s best friend.” Reiterating that the first meeting between Modi and Obama last year laid the ground work, Biden said, “This relationship will go a long way towards defining the 21st century, and that is not hyperbole.”

Biden added, “It`s no longer about what we can do for India, it`s about what we can do with India, what we can do together.”

In the same vein, Secretary Kerry spoke about the importance of building stronger US-India ties and reinforcing India’s position as an ally in the region.

”We both are open societies which value education and enterprise. Our relationship with the United States is defined by natural synergy of our democracies and easy identification among our people,” said Indian Minister Swaraj,

The audience was also addressed by Penny Pritzker, US Secretary of Commerce, Nirmala Sitharaman, Indian Minister of State, Independent Charge, for the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and Piyush Goyal, Indian Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy.

Attending companies included leaders from MasterCard, PepsiCo, Bank of America, Boeing, American Tower Corp, Amway, Cigna, Dow, Pfizer, and UST Global.

On Tuesday, (September 22) the two delegations will delve into the details when Secretary Kerry and Secretary Pritzker will lead the American side while India will be represented by their Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman.

This is happening before Indian Prime Minister Modi starts his second visit to the US within an year to again address UNGA on September 25; to have meetings with CEOs and technical giants like Facebook and Google, and electric car maker Tesla on September 26 and 27 before meeting US President Obama on September 28 in New York.

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