President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to meet in New York later this month. Both are coming to the United Nations to address the General Assembly. Obama along with Vice President Joe Biden and several of his cabinet ministers, is set for a high-level engagement with the Indian leadership in a series of meetings later this month. This would be the highest level of engagement between the two countries since Obama’s trip to New Delhi in January to attend the Republic Day parade as the chief guest of Prime Minister Modi.
Officials had a hard time setting up the meeting on one of the busiest days for the American president, given his address to the U.N. General Assembly earlier that day. Modi, on the other hand, would be flying in from Silicon Valley on Sept. 27 after addressing Indian Americans at the SAP Center in San Jose.
While no official announcement has been made yet, the proposed meeting is a reflection of the seriousness and commitment of the two leaders to this bilateral relationship. Notably, in the January joint statement, the two leaders committed themselves for more regular meetings. The Modi-Obama meeting in New York would cap more than a week of high-level India-U.S. engagement, most of it in Washington.
It is believed that Biden is keen to be part of this engagement. It was Biden who, during a visit to India a few years ago, who set the ambitious goal of increasing bilateral trade from the current $100 billion to $500 billion per annum.
Therefore, it might not be surprising to learn that Biden is taking the lead once again when it comes to economic ties. Several cabinet-ranking officials, along with corporate leaders from both countries, are expected to be present at the 40th anniversary Leadership Summit of the US-India Business Council on Sept. 21.
Energy Minister Piyush Goyal and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzeker are among those confirmed to attend the event. The next day TERI North America is to host the 6th India-U.S. Energy Partnership Summit. However, the first ever India-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue, to be hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry at Foggy Bottom, is likely to be the center of attraction. While the dates of this dialogue have not been announced, it is expected to be held on September 22.
The decision to expand the India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue to a commercial one was taken during Obama’s January visit to India. Kerry, along with Pritzeker, would lead the U.S. delegation, while the Indian delegation would be led by Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Sitharaman.
Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar will be part of the Indian delegation. Indian Ambassador Arun K. Singh and his American counterpart Richard Verma are expected to be present.