South and Central Asia: Remarks With Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody. I’m delighted to welcome the foreign minister of India, Madam Swaraj, and it’s my pleasure today to begin the first, the inaugural U.S. Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. So we will be joined upstairs by the Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, by the Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz, for a very in-depth discussion about our economic and security agenda. And before that, the foreign minister and I will meet privately to talk about some of the complicated issues of the region.

I know that President Obama is very much looking forward to meeting with Prime Minister Modi at the UN General Assembly meetings in New York next week. And then we have a very robust discussion regarding counterterrorism, the Indian Ocean, maritime security, South China Sea, the South Asian challenges of the moment, as well as our challenges on a global basis for nuclear nonproliferation and climate change.

So it’s a full agenda with one of our most important partners in the world, the largest democracy in the world. Together we’re the oldest and one of great common values and common commitment to the freedom of our people, to individual creativity and respect for human rights, and entrepreneurial activity. And I think we have plans to advance our relationship to a $500 billion goal of economic exchange.

So it’s a very important discussion and I’m very grateful to our friends from India for their presence here for this inaugural event.

Madam Minister.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER SWARAJ: I thank Secretary Kerry for inviting me and my delegation for this first Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. Until this dialogue it was between the two foreign ministers and it was called Strategic Dialogue. For the first time it has been elevated to Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. I’m very hopeful that the meeting will be very productive and very meaningful. We will – we are going to talk on a wide range of issues as Secretary Kerry elaborated. After the meeting we will meet the media and we will issue a joint statement also.

And I hope that the meeting is going to be very, very good and memorable with Secretary Kerry.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER SWARAJ: Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.