India is major foreign policy priority for US: Burns
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Carrying a brief for resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue, US Under Secretary of State William Burns met the Indian leadership on Wednesday after which he confined himself by saying that India is a major foreign policy priority for the US.
Burns met External Affairs Minister S M Krishna after a detailed discussion with Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon on wide range of topics including Indo-US relations and situation in the region with a special focus Pakistan.
The State Department had publicly said in Washington that Burns will pitch for resumption of dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad during his meetings with the Indian leadership during his four-day visit to Delhi.
However, Burns told reporters after his 40-minute meeting with Krishna that he had "excellent" discussions with the External Affairs Minister, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Menon.
He said he was looking forward to further deliberations on Thursday to "chart together ambitious bilateral agenda for the next phase in the strategic partnership" between the two countries.
Burns is expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and National Security Advisor M K Narayanan. Burns, who is the first high ranking officer of the Obama Administration to visit India after the recent Lok Sabha elections, described India as a "major foreign policy priority for the United States."
Burns said India and the US have come a long way and the civil nuclear agreement was a major "accomplishment". Noting that he had been sent by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a "straight forward message" that India is a priority nation, he said "I am convinced that there is a great deal we can do together."
He said the US feels that India will be its crucial global partner in the 21st century and a strong foundation for bilateral relations has already been laid for it.
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