Sushma Swaraj (right) with Priti Patel, British MP, at the launch of Youth Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in Gandhinagar on Wednesday
The Vibrant Gujarat Summit scheduled next week in Ahmedabad will have high-profile guests, including the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and the US secretary of state John Kerry. The US secretary is leading a delegation of business executives and innovators at the summit and will also hold bilateral talks with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and prime minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad on January 10, to prepare an agenda for the forthcoming visit of president Barrack Obama on January 24. For the first time, the US is joining as the partner country in the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.Ban Ki-moon is also travelling to Gujarat to deliver a keynote speech at the inaugural session of the 7th Vibrant Gujarat Summit on January 11. “Addressing world leaders, policy makers, and representatives from the business community and academia, the secretary-general will stress the need to promote inclusive and sustainable development in India,” said Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.The focus, however, will be on the US secretary of state John Kerry’s visit, who will meet Indian leaders in the run up to the Obama trip, who is the chief guest of 2015 Republic Day parade on January 26. Apart from security issues, cooperation in the energy sector, especially in renewables, is likely to be high on the agenda. India will also push for the US support for its bid for membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Other issues on table are to convince Washington to ease up business for Indian pharmaceutical companies, visa rules for the IT industry and a waiver on mandatory social security contributions.Since Kerry will directly fly to Islamabad form Ahmedabad, India, Pakistan tensions along the borders and the US likely certifying Pakistan’s action against terror groups to Congress will also figure during talks. Though, the US has denied any certification, it appears that a decision with this regard may be at some stage in the US bureaucracy. Under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act, Pakistan received $1.5 billion a year between 2010 and 2014 as non-military assistance from the US.
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