Indo-US energy dialogue to resume on March 10

Friday, February 7, 2014
Saurabh Shukla

New Delhi: In what may signal a fresh thaw in the relationship, India and the US are all set to resume their dialogue on energy on March 10 and 11, after a bitter face off over the arrest of the Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade.

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz's dialogue with Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia will put the bilateral engagement process back on an even keel

The dialogue was postponed as New Delhi upped ante against Washington and put the political visits also on the back burner to send a strong message to the US that it is not business as usual.

In fact during the stand-off Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh had clearly told the US Ambassador Nancy Powell that there couldn’t be business as usual and the dialogue was put off.

The dialogue is important as India is keen to tide over its energy hunger and is looking at the US as a supplier for the Liquified Natural Gas.

While charges against Khobragade still stand, US responded to India’s request by confirming her status as an accredited diplomat with India's permanent UN mission has allowed India to reexamine its position.

India's decision stems from the fact that the South Block believes that the US relationship was badly bruised and needed some urgent repair work to put the ties back on track.

The same sentiment was echoed by both sides when foreign minister met his counterpart John Kerry recently on the sidelines of the Geneva II conference on Syria. The government would still like US authorities to drop charges against Khobragade altogether but even if that doesn't happen, it is not likely to bilateral engagements suffer.

The US-India Energy Dialogue was launched in 2005 to promote increased trade and investment in the energy sector. Realising the geopolitical implications of US natural gas exports, India is looking at investing heavily in this market. India sees LNG imports from the US as a boon for both countries.

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