Washington: India and the U.S. begin their first strategic and commercial dialogue here from Monday to set the stage for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's third summit meeting with President Barack Obama within a year.
The two leaders had decided to expand the existing Strategic Dialogue to the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue during Obama's January visit to India to reflect the growing significance of the U.S.-India economic relationship.
Modi himself lands in New York Wednesday a day after Indian and U.S. teams led by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Secretary of State John Kerry and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker wrap up the dialogue.
He will be meeting Obama the following Monday in New York after wooing investors in New York and a weekend trip to Silicon Valley, focusing on three key themes of entrepreneurship and innovation, digital economy and renewable energy.
The Sept. 28 summit would cap eight days of intense India-U.S. engagement on both political and commercial planes starting with an energy dialogue Monday led by Power Minister Piyush Goyal and U.S. Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz.
Between the U.S.-India dialogue and the Modi summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping will be visiting the White House on Sept. 24 -25.
This is "a sequence that will not be lost on Chinese policy makers," wrote Raymond E. Vickery, Jr. a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in an article in "Diplomat".
"The Obama administration is pulling out all the stops," he suggested, to make the U.S. engagement with India "a success and a key demonstration that the administration's 'rebalance to Asia' is more than just rhetoric."
As the U.S. Commerce Department has noted since 2010, the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue has been the primary forum to advance shared objectives in regional security, economic cooperation, defense trade and climate challenges.
"With a new commercial track, the U.S. and India will focus additional attention on shared priorities of generating economic growth, creating jobs, improving the investment climate, and strengthening the middle class in both countries," it said.
Later Monday evening, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Kerry and Swaraj will headline a conclave of corporate America.
Other high-ranking government officials as also captains of industry from both countries will also address the U.S.-India Business Council's 40th Annual Leadership Summit.
To increase the role of the private sector, the Commerce Department will host the U.S.-India CEO Forum on Sept. 21, in close proximity to the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.
The CEO Forum is the primary mechanism for engaging the U.S. and Indian private sectors and leveraging business leaders' recommendations to shape policy-making discussions.
As part of the CEO Forum, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will host an event featuring remarks from Pritzker and Sitharaman, and a discussion between U.S. and Indian CEOs on efforts to deepen bilateral economic engagement.
Other engagements on the sidelines of the strategic and commercial dialogue include official level India-U.S. Health Dialogue and a meeting of India-U.S. Joint Working Group on Climate Change.