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US to talk Burma, Afghanistan with India in dialogue

world Updated: Jun 06, 2012 01:25 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
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The future of Afghanistan and Myanmar are expected to figure prominently in the next round of India-US strategic dialogue taking place here next week.

The US hopes to carry on from last month’s Nato summit and talk to India about the coming Tokyo Conference on financial support for Afghanistan.

India and the US will also discuss the integration of Myanmar as its military junta relinquishes more power and authority.

Issues to be discussed prominently are likely to “include India’s Look East policy, integration opportunities between India, Bangladesh, and increasingly Burma; and developments in Afghanistan,” said US assistant secretary of state for South Asia Robert Blake at a think tank on Monday.

Starting in 2010, India-US strategic dialogue is an annual event hosted alternately by the two countries.

At least five ministerial and official level discussions will be taking place along with the strategic dialogue — on education, cybersecurity, health, science and technology.

But Afghanistan and Myanmar will headline the talks. “The strategic dialogue will give us a chance to together build on the momentum from the Nato Summit in Chicago, while preparing for the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan in July,” said Blake.

The Nato countries at the Chicago summit agreed on a timeline for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan — starting mid-2013, leaving the financial aspect for Tokyo.

As a major donor nation —having committed $2 billion —India would be at the Tokyo talks, where a roadmap is likely to be accepted on continued financial support for Afghanistan

Both India and the US have signed strategic partnership agreements with the Afghan government — New Delhi was the first off the block.

India has also taken been an early starter on Myanmar with PM Manmohan Singh going there on a state visit and signing agreements.