US, India to restart stalled energy dialogue

The United States will restart its discussion on energy sector cooperation with India early next month when US energy secretary Ernest Moniz visits India from 10 to 12 March, the energy department said on Wednesday.

The talks aimed at finding ways to strengthen joint work to promote energy efficiency and clean energy, and address climate change, were postponed last month amidst a diplomatic dispute between the two countries.

Moniz had originally planned to visit India in January, but the trip was cancelled amid a dispute over the arrest of India's deputy consul Devyani Khobragade, by the New York police and her subsequent handcuffing and strip-search.

Moniz said on Wednesday he will go to India in two weeks to participate in talks cancelled last month. In India, he will meet with Indian counterparts.

Energy sector cooperation is an important pillar of the India-US strategic partnership. The two sides pledged cooperation last September when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama held talks.

The two leaders discussed ways to strengthen efforts to promote energy efficiency and clean energy and address climate change.

India is also interested in import of liquefied natural gas from the US, where supplies are increasing with the finding of more and more shale gas reserves.

India is expanding LNG use as it would both reduce pollution and dependence on the Middle East for crude oil.

The US energy department, however, declined to disclose details of Moniz's agenda.

The United States is also looking at improving nuclear trade with India after it brokered peace between India and the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

The US along with China and India are among the world's biggest polluters and Moniz said his trip came in response to a question at an event at the National Press Club in Washington about how the United States planned to work with the world's largest emitting countries.