Burns to visit Delhi, to discuss Manmohan Singh's visit to US

     US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, William J Burns, will arrive in India on Thursday for talks on promoting bilateral relations between the two countries. His trip is seen as a preliminary preparation for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Washington in November as the Obama administration's first state guest. Burns is also likely to get New Delhi's feedback on the recent bomb attack outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, which claimed 17 lives and injured over 60. Officials in India are also likely to acquire a perspective on Washington's altered strategy on Afghanistan. It may be recalled that New Delhi has voiced concern over Washington's apparent shift in policy towards tackling the Taliban. The policy reportedly focuses on diverting US military's focus from eliminating Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan to Al-Qaeda bases within Pakistan. During his visit, Burns will meet with senior government officials and private sector leaders to discuss a broad agenda to further strengthen Indo-American partnership. Burns is expected to meet External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao. Issues like situation in Pakistan-Afghanistan region, 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and non-proliferation are likely to be discussed during the meeting. The Indian side may also discuss Pakistan's move to not to prosecute Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed for two cases that had been registered against him. The Indian Government is expected to convey its disappointment over Pakistan's inaction against those responsible for the 26/11 attacks.

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