Devyani Scandal: US Energy Secretary cancels India Trip

Washington:  United States energy secretary Ernest Moniz, who was scheduled to visit India shortly has cancelled his visit  after  strained relations between the two countries over the arrest of Devyani Khobragade in December 2013. The Visit would happen at a mutual convenient date or sometimes, when the relations are better. Moreover, a delegation of India is visiting US tomorrow for a Summit over Space Exploration.

In her daily Press Briefing US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said, “As you know, on the U.S.-India energy partnership. It was an issue when the Secretary was there, and he even gave a speech talking about these issues. It’s a key element of our strategic partnership. In view of these important matters and in order to find a time to allow both sides to deliver on the important issues that we need to from both sides, we’re looking for a mutually convenient time in the near future that will permit both sides to do that. So we remain committed to holding this dialogue, and we’ll look for a time to hold it”.

Ties between India and US have suffered a setback after the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York on alleged visa fraud charges last month.

Moniz’s visit for the India-US Energy Dialogue was considered an important one for both the countries after a Summit between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in White House in September last year.

Both the leaders had identified co-operation in the energy sector as an important pillar of India-US Strategic Partnership. In fact, clean energy was the focus of Kerry’s India visit last summer.

During their meeting, Obama and Singh had discussed ways to strengthen bilateral efforts to promote energy efficiency, clean energy, and address climate change.

The US-India Energy Dialogue was launched on May 31, 2005 to promote increased trade and investment in the energy sector. Five working groups had been set up under the initiative in areas of oil & gas, coal, power and energy efficiency, new technologies & renewable energy and civil nuclear co-operation.

Another working group on ‘sustainable development’ was added recently. The last India-US Energy Dialogue took place in September 2012.

Preparations were on to make significant progress on US giving approval for LNG export to India during this visit, sources said.

India has been pushing the US to expedite this process to meet its galloping energy needs.

The now postponed India-US Energy Dialogue was also expected to implement the decisions taken by Obama and Singh with regard to clean energy.