Washington: Newly appointed US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday met visiting Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and stressed that there would be no change in India-US relationship, which he is looking forward to take a step forward during his stint at the Foggy Bottom.
During his brief meeting with Mathai, Kerry said that he is looking forward to not only his visit to India for the Strategic Dialogue this summer, but also an earlier one-o-one meeting with his Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid.
Officials of the two countries would now work on the dates of a possible early Washington visit of Khurshid. India is believed to have proposed June 17 as the date for Strategic Dialogue for which Kerry would be travelling to New Delhi. None of the dates have been confirmed yet.
Soon after his meeting with Mathai, Kerry wrote his first tweet as the Secretary of State. "Saw friend/Foreign Secretary Mathai- discussed importance of relationship w/#India, expressed sympathies to brave people of #Hyderabad JK," Kerry wrote on the micro blogging site under his personal signature JK, which stands for John Kerry.
Kerry also expressed condolences over the Hyderabad bomb blasts that killed 14 people and injured more than 80 others. He wanted to know from the Foreign Secretary about any additional information he had about the terrorist attack and offered America's assistance if any required.
According to sources familiar with the meeting, Kerry "reaffirmed the importance he attaches to relationship with India" and noted that he is looking forward to further strengthening the bilateral ties.
"He was conscious of the need that there would be no change in relationship (with him being the Secretary of State). He stressed that," sources said, adding that the Secretary of State seemed "keen to engage" with India.
Briefing Kerry on the status of the relationship, Mathai is understood to have told him that co-operation in the energy sector (in particular clean energy and shell gas) and education could be the next big ticket item or game changers for the India-US ties.