Sec. of State John Kerry Meets Arun Jaitley, Tours IIT Delhi

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday met Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi, ahead of his participation in the 5th India-US strategic dialogue. Kerry also visited two laboratories at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Delhi earlier in the day.

Kerry arrived in India on Wednesday on a three-day visit, which is the first US engagement with the Narendra Modi-headed government.

The US Secretary of State’s main task is to sort out the differences on various issues between the two democracies, prior to Modi’s visit to the US next September.

Kerry had said that India and the US are at a point of historic transformation in their relationship, and that the US supports India in its rise as a political and economic power in the world.

Kerry, who also visited IIT Delhi, described the institute as “very exciting” and “excellent”, after being to two laboratories at the prestigious institute, PTI reported.

Professor RK Shevgaonkar, Director of the IIT Delhi, said that the American Embassy had informed him about Kerry’s wish to visit two laboratories. Kerry toured around the Applied Microbiology and the BioProcess labs and expressed his admiration for the institute. He also interacted with the students of IIT.

While interacting with the students, Kerry asked them questions about the admission procedure, fee details, patent system and their job prospects, once they complete the course.

When a student explained about a research project on bio-degradable plastic at the IIT, Kerry hailed the effort and said that such a research would be a huge contribution to the world.

Later in the day, Kerry is scheduled to co-chair the 5th India-US strategic dialogue with Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The two sides are keen to make Modi’s September visit to the US a result-oriented one.

Reports say that one of Kerry’s tasks is to convince India in the matter of trade facilitation agreement (TFA) at the World Trade Organisation. India wanted to put on hold the TFA until a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security is found.

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