YORK The grave situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir did not figure in the hour-long meeting between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Monday that focused on bilateral relations, a senior American official said.
Asked if recent developments in Kashmir (marked by protests and killings) factored into the discussion, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake, replied: Actually, it didnt come up at all in the course of this conversation.
The US and India were hoping to resolve irritants on bilateral issues ahead of President Barack Obamas upcoming visit, he said after a meeting between the two countries top diplomats.
The meeting between Secretary Clinton and External Affairs Minister Krishna began with a discussion over President (Barack) Obamas trip to India in early November. Secretary Clinton and Minister Krishna agreed that the Presidents visit will be a defining moment in the history of our bilateral relations, Blake said.
In a conference call with reporters, Blake said Clinton and Krishna discussed substantive preparations for the Obama visit.
The two countries are trying to sort out issues like US export controls, visa fee hike and the Indian nuclear liability bill. In a relationship as large and as wide ranging and as complicated as ours there are always going to be irritants, he said. But there was 'goodwill on both sides to resolve all of those irritants, including the liability issue and the visa issue, Blake added.
Secretary Clinton told the Minister she also looked forward to seeing Indian Defence Minister Antony and then later Indian National Security Adviser Menon - all of them this week in Washington.
He said Secretary Clinton and Minister Krishna discussed shared commitment to Afghanistan. Secretary Clinton thanked the Minister for the extensive development assistance India had provided in Afghanistan and expressed US desire to continue to work closely in that important country.