Shivshankar Menon heads to US on Wednesday
New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) As India and the US negotiate a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon leaves for Washington Wednesday on a four-day official visit for a meeting of a bilateral group in the area of high technology.
Menon will co-chair the 5th Meeting of the Indo-US High Technology Cooperation Group with Deputy Secretary of Commerce David Sampson.
The meeting will include industry and government sessions on the four focus areas of information technology, bio-technology, nanotechnology and defence technology, the external affairs ministry said here Monday, while announcing his visit.
This will be Menon's first visit to US as foreign secretary. He will meet his US counterpart, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, and call on officials in the departments of state, commerce, agriculture, energy, defence and the National Security Council.
Menon is likely to push for an early conclusion of the 123 agreement governing civil nuclear commerce between the two countries that has yet to gather pace after the US Congress enacted a landmark legislation late last year permitting civil nuclear cooperation with India after a hiatus of three decades.
An early conclusion of an agreement will provide broad contours for India to negotiate a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Menon will also press for removal of some extant sanctions on trade in some high technology items between India and the US.