US and India discuss possible trade amidst water shortage

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday led talks with the Indian government on boosting trade as well as regional issues including New Delhi's tensions with Pakistan.

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Kerry arrived in New Delhi on Monday night from Bangladesh, where the two sides agreed to scale up security cooperation to fight violent extremism.

Kerry and US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker co-chaired trade and security talks with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Plans to ramp up bilateral trade five-fold to 500 billion dollars were taken up for discussion, US state department officials said.

The talks, set to continue into the evening, also focus on regional security, including Delhi’s ties with rival Pakistan amid violence in the disputed region of Kashmir and ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.

Kashmir is at the root of a long-standing conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbours, both of whom claim the area in its entirety.

In recent weeks, more than 70 people, mostly civilians, have died in clashes with the security forces following the killing of a militant leader.

The talks in Delhi come shortly after US and India signed a pact in Washington to share military assets and bases, a move towards consolidating defence ties.

Source: dpa/GNA/News Ghana

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