US emissary comes India calling next week via China

  • Yashwant Raj and Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times, Washington/New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 01, 2014 00:30 IST

Obama administration’s point person for central and south Asia, Nisha Biswal, will be arriving in New Delhi next week to meet the Modi government.

The visit comes on the back of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to Chinese president Xi Jinping and Japanese prime minister Shinto Abe outlining his vision for India-Japan ties, including the trilateral with the US — something Beijing will have reservations about.

“It is not an either-or situation or pitting one against the other. India wants good ties with all countries and the only interest that matters is national interest,” said a source in the government.

Biswal’s visit from June 6 to 9 coincides with the trip of Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi as Xi’s special envoy on June 8. Biswal, incidentally, will be arriving here from Beijing as well.

But it is not clear if Biswal, who is of Gujarati descent, will meet Modi. The state department statement on Friday only said she will meet “with a range of officials in the new government”. And, she will “review the full scope of bilateral and regional issues” with her Indian counterparts.

The stage has been set for the new government’s foreign policy rollout.

Modi is set to visit Japan, and dealing with Abe, a nationalist leader, has proved to be a challenge to a Beijing caught in a series of territorial disputes with Tokyo.

The US, on its part, has been demonstrably keen to work with Modi, eager perhaps to make up for denying him a visa for years. President Barack Obama invited him to the US on phone and secretary of state John Kerry said he wanted to meet Modi to personally extend him the president’s invitation.

There has been no response from New Delhi.

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