Washington:  The India visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry later this week would lay the groundwork for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington in September to meet President Barack Obama, an American official said today.

“Secretary Kerry’s visit underscores the importance of the US-India partnership, and will lay the groundwork for Prime Minister Modi’s September visit to the United States,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

Kerry is scheduled to leave Washington for New Delhi later  today to co-chair the fifth annual India-US Strategic on July 31 along with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Kerry would be accompanied by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who will lead discussions to strengthen economic ties between the two countries. Other members of the administration, including Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman, Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary Francis Taylor and NASA Associate Administrator MichaelO’Brien, are also expected to join the trip.

“In addition to holding the Strategic Dialogue, Kerry will meet Modi, the first cabinet-level meeting with a US official since the inauguration of the new Indian government,” Psaki said.

Discussion will cover the full range of bilateral issues, including expanding bilateral trade, tackling climate change, improving India’s energy security through cooperation in clean energy and energy access, and expanding the already robust people-to-people ties, she said.

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