US suggests 'specific steps' to boost India-US trade

United Nations, Sep 26 (IANS) Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit, the US has suggested some "specific" economic reforms that could give "real movement" to Indian economy and help expand India-US trade relations.

The suggestions were made by Secretary of State Kerry during a bilateral meeting here Wednesday with Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's meeting Friday with President Barack Obama in Washington, according to a senior State Department official.

"The Secretary said that if India can march forward and embrace reforms, they can see real movement on their economy," he said in a background briefing on the meeting. "And they talked about the importance of finding ways to expand trade relations."

Asked if Kerry had cited any specific reforms to Khurshid, the official said, "They did have some conversations about specific steps, yes." But declined to give details.

"IT was more of the context of the comment or the quote that I gave that there was agreement by both sides that there's more that can be done," he said. "The Secretary was just encouraging steps that could be taken."

Kerry and Khurshid "also discussed a range of issues of mutual interest, including climate change," the official said noting during his recent India visit Kerry had talked about elevating the dialogue on climate change to the foreign minister level.

"So they discussed that today. They talked about their shared concern about the enormous impact of climate change, as well as the role that the US and India can play," he said. "They agreed to continue working to expand their clean energy partnership."

Kerry and Khurshid, touched briefly on a couple of other issues, including Syria, the official said, and Kerry "welcomed any vocal supportive role India is willing to play."

The two ministers also talked about their efforts to move forward on expanding their defence relationship, he said.

They briefly also "discussed efforts, ongoing discussions" on the India-US civil nuclear deal, the official said again without spelling out any details.

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