Relationship with India is important: US

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The US has sent a message to India through one of his top diplomats that the relationship between the two countries is important, saying America wants to move past the differences they recently had over the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York.

"The Secretary (John Kerry) is sending with her (Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal) a message that this relationship is important," State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters during a conference call yesterday.

Biswal, the Indian-origin US diplomat, is on her maiden trip to India in her current position during March 4-6.

"We want to move past disagreements we've had because we have so many issues that are important for us to work closely on. So that is the purpose of her trip. But obviously, she has an expansive itinerary while she's there," Psaki said.

During the trip, Biswal would be travelling to Bangalore and then to New Delhi.

"She has a heavy schedule over the next couple of days," she said.

"She's going to meet with government and business leaders in Bangalore to discuss her joint efforts to foster innovation, increase our high-tech and engineering engagement and strengthen US-India economic ties. She's also travelling to New Delhi where she will meet with senior Indian officials to discuss a full range of bilateral and regional issues, including our shared defence security and economic engagement," Psaki said.

"This is an important trip for us. We have a broad and strategic partnership with India, and we're a proud partner with India in virtually every field of human endeavour, from solutions to poverty and disease to space exploration and counterterrorism," she said.

Noting that Biswal would be meeting a range of officials in India, Psaki, in response to a question, did not confirm or deny if she would be meeting BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

"We are meeting with a range of officials. And as you know, but it's worth repeating, we don't take a position on the future of leadership in India. Obviously, that's up to the people of India," Psaki said.

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