India to pitch for easing of US high-tech exports

The Iranian nuclear issue and the situation in Afghanistan will also figure in the discussions, sources said. 

Jones, who arrives here late Tuesday night, will hold wide-ranging talks with Menon with an eye on “deliverables” during Obama's visit to India in November. Jones will also call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday evening.

He will meet Home Minister P. Chidambaram Thursday and discuss expanded counter-terror cooperation and structured interaction between key security personnel of both countries. 

The liberalization of high-technology exports, an underlying promise of the India-US civil nuclear deal, will top the agenda from India's point of view.

The US has repeatedly assured India movement on this front, but some crucial Indian entities like the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) continue to face technology sanctions.

India sees the removal of these sanctions as necessary for the end of technology denial regimes that have stifled its growth and accommodation in the global nuclear mainstream.

The two officials will also review steps required to implement the civilian nuclear deal and India's progress in the passage of the civilian nuclear liability bill that continues to face hostility from the opposition.

The easing of high-tech trade restrictions and the consummation of the nuclear deal could well be the high points of Obama's maiden visit to India, which he has promised  would be “history-making”, taking the relations to new heights.

Jones and Menon will also discuss the situation in Afghanistan in the wake of renewed efforts by Pakistan to influence a Taliban reconciliation plan in that country. India continues to get intelligence reports about the plans of terrorists to target its assets and interests in Afghanistan.

Menon is likely to reiterate India's apprehensions about accommodating hardcore Taliban extremists who have an overt anti-India agenda.

India is also likely also convey its unease with the recent US sanctions on Iran that have the potential to impact its energy security.

However, ahead of Jones visit, State Department spokesman Phillip J. Crowley has said that the US expects India to enforce the UN sanctions against Iran, but would leave it to New Delhi to decide how to convince Tehran to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

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