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Rocca arrives for talks

By Our Diplomatic Correspondent

NEW DELHI, OCT. 20. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Christina Rocca, arrived here for talks with her counterparts in the External Affairs Ministry this afternoon. Ms. Rocca's visit is expected to focus on the implementation of Phase-I of the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP), agreed to recently between the two countries. Late this evening, Ms. Rocca, who was in Pakistan on Tuesday, met the Foreign Secretary, Shyam Saran.

On October 11, the External Affairs Ministry spokesman had said thatMs. Rocca would be in the capital on October 20 for the first meeting of the NSSP Phase-I implementation group. The group will be headed by S. Jaishankar, Joint Secretary (Americas), on the Indian side.

This group will also prepare the ground for the commencement of negotiations on Phase-II of the NSSP, which will have a broader scope and application and will discuss steps for implementing the understandings reached under the Phase-I.

The U.S. Under Secretary of State, Kenneth Juster, was in the capital on October 11 for a review meeting of the High-Technology Cooperation Group, which has been discussing the NSSP. The Group is headed by the Foreign Secretary, Shyam Saran, on the Indian side.

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