Ahead of Modi visit, India, US set to hold maiden Strategic and Commercial Dialogue


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Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in September, Washington DC is all set to host the first ever India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (SACD). According to Stefan M Selig, US Undersecretary for International Trade, Department of Commerce, it is scheduled to be held in September. This will be the first ever high level strategic and commercial dialogue between the world’s leading democracies and close strategic partners. With the intent to boost trade and investment five-fold to $500 billion annually, the meet would focus on areas such as ease of doing business and smart cities. Mr Selig is in India to meet Commerce secretary Rita Teaotia to discuss the details about the high level dialogue.

“The dialogue will have four pillars: ease of doing business, innovation and entrepreneurship, smart cities project in India and the harmonisation of standards to increase bilateral trade,” Mr Selig said at the press conference in the Indian capital. Mr Selig also added that he is due to meet Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman shortly to discuss about joint preparations for the upcoming dialogue.

The SACD is expected to be held days before Mr Modi goes on his second visit to the US to attend the United Nations General Assembly in the last week of September. He is also expected to engage US President Barack Obama in bilateral talks on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York.

The announcement to hold the SACD was made when US President Barack Obama visited India as the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in January 2015.  Mr Selig underlined that this commercial track would serve as a platform for both short and long-term deliverables and added that SACD would focus not only on securing near-term trade and investment outcome but also in areas of long-term collaboration.

The SACD is expected to be the annual dialogue between both the governments and will serve as a platform for high-level meetings between senior government and cabinet officials as well as a sustainable forum for policy discussions, added Mr Selig. This dialogue is another tangible step that shows growth and progress in the bilateral relations between both the countries.