“Saw friend/Foreign Secretary Mathai – discussed importance of relationship w/ #India, expressed sympathies to brave people of #Hyderabad –JK.”
That’s a tweet, as you can tell, and JK is John F Kerry, US secretary of state, who succeeded Hillary Clinton earlier this month. And those were his first significant words yet on India, tweeted after a meeting with visiting foreign secretary Rajan Mathai Thursday morning.
Mathai unveiled earlier in the day a blueprint for India-US relations, which he said had evolved to a “new normal” of frequent engagement on a whole host of issues. Cooperation on energy and education, however, will be the next big thing, though not as attention-grabbing as the “audacity” of civil nuclear agreement of 2009.
And shale gas would be right at that centre of that next big step. India is seeking shale gas imports from the US, and equipment to explore its own reserve of 63 trillion cubic feet.
Kerry’s tweet, however, came to be treated as a joint statement hours later, as the conclusive official take on the first encounter of Indian officials with the new secretary of state, who is viewed among some Indians as soft on Pakistan.
“Foreign secretary Mathai met secretary Kerry and deputy Secretary William J Burns on Friday,” said a state department spokesperson.
Most of that brief meeting — with Kerry — was taken up by the Hyderabad bomb explosion, news of which started breaking here during Mathai’s speech at a DC think tank. That was the first thing Kerry wanted to know about as Mathai walked into his room.