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Kerry pushes for investment treaty; defends snooping news
24 June 2013

US secretary of state John Kerry who arrived in New Delhi on Sunday, has called for the early conclusion of a bilateral investment treaty between the two countries which, he said, is an important step to bolstering investor confidence.

US secretary of state John Kerry with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in New Delhi on June 24, 2013.

Kerry who is accompanied by a high-level delegation set the tone for the fourth round of Indo-US strategic dialogue today, saying that the US investors are highly concerned over the lack of greater access to India's markets and Indian laws concerning intellectual property rights.

Kerry expressed concerns over new trade barriers and the delay in "full" implementation of Indo-US nuclear deal.

A successful implementation of the Indo-US agreement on peaceful use of nuclear energy would result in US-based nuclear power companies finding bases in India.

"We need to conclude a bilateral investment treaty as soon as possible as we can, which is an important step to bolstering investor confidence in both our countries," he said.

Earlier, at his meeting with external affairs minister Salman Khurshid, Kerry said the two countries are committed to take the relationship between New Delhi and Washington to new heights.

Underlining the significance of the Indo-US strategic dialogue, external affairs minister Salman Khursid said the two sides discussed cooperation in a number of areas, including technology and joint ventures, defence, education, agriculture and building health capacity.

Kerry will co-chair the India-US strategic dialogue with external affairs minister Salman Khurshi

Kerry also announced that US vice president Joe Biden will visit India in July to continue talks.

Later, addressing the media, Kerry defended the National Security Agency's controversial spying programme, saying it has helped to avert many a terrorist act and save lives. He said most opposition to the data collection is due to the miscommunication about US surveillance of e-mails or phone calls.

There is huge amount of miscommunication about US surveillance of e-mails or phone calls, he said while also denying civil liberty violations.

Kerry said the so-called intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden is an indicted felon and that all countries have been notified of his status.

"Wonder if Snowden chose Russia or China for assistance because they are such bastions of internet freedom," Kerry said.

The US top diplomat also sought partnership with India for tackling major problems facing the world such as climate change, global security and human survival (See: Climate change, Afghanistan top Kerry's agenda on Indian visit).

US Agency for International Development (USAID) also announced a $100 million investment in India's burgeoning clean energy sector.

He said US welcomed the increasing trade ties between India and Pakistan and also asked India to play a "central role" in Afghanistan's 2014 elections.

Kerry also announced a $150 million aid to relief and rehabilitation of the people affected by flood in Uttarkhand and elsewhere in the country.

Underlining the significance of the Indo-US strategic dialogue, the visiting US secretary of state said that he and Khurshid talked about space co-operation, technology and joint ventures, defence, education, agriculture and building health capacity. Kerry also announced that US Vice President Joe Biden will visit India in July to continue talks.





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Kerry pushes for investment treaty; defends snooping