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Kerry in India for Strategic Talks     08/30 06:15

   U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in India for strategic and commercial 
talks being held against the backdrop of rising tensions in the disputed region 
of Kashmir, long a flashpoint between India and rival Pakistan.

   NEW DELHI (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in India for 
strategic and commercial talks being held against the backdrop of rising 
tensions in the disputed region of Kashmir, long a flashpoint between India and 
rival Pakistan.

   Kerry, along with U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, is leading the 
American delegation to the second meeting of the U.S.-India strategic dialogue, 
which seeks to improve security and economic development ties between the 
nations.

   Tuesday's talks come amid some of the largest protests in Kashmir against 
Indian rule in recent years. At least 68 civilians have been killed and 
thousands injured in the Himalayan region, mostly by government forces firing 
bullets and shotguns at rock-throwing protesters since early July. Two 
policemen have been killed and hundreds of government forces have been injured 
in the clashes.

   On Monday, Indian authorities lifted a curfew imposed in most parts of 
India-controlled Kashmir as part of a 52-day security lockdown. But they 
re-imposed the curfew in the region's main city after anti-India protests and 
clashes erupted in several neighborhoods.

   More than 68,000 people have been killed since rebel groups began fighting 
Indian forces in 1989 and in the subsequent Indian military crackdown.

   The U.S. has consistently urged dialogue between India and Pakistan on the 
dispute and, in a meeting with Indian national security adviser Ajit Doval, 
Kerry reiterated that position, according to U.S. officials, who noted that on 
Monday India's defense minister met with Pentagon chief Ash Carter in 
Washington.

   Other issues on the agenda include cooperation in Afghanistan, efforts to 
combat terrorism, cybersecurity as well as India's desire to become a member of 
the Nuclear Suppliers Group and pursue a permanent seat on the U.N. Security 
Council. Climate change and clean energy are also to be discussed.


(KA)

 
 
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