[WASHINGTON] America's top diplomat and the head of its Defense Department will visit India in coming weeks, seeking to revitalise a relationship the United States sees as a crucial counterbalance in Asia to an increasingly assertive China.
Secretary of State John Kerry will represent the US in an annual session of Strategic Dialogue with India scheduled for July 31, and he will be followed to New Delhi by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in early August, US officials said on Wednesday.
They will be the most senior US officials to visit India for talks with the new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since his May election. Mr Modi is expected to visit the US in September.
In testimony for a hearing of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Nisha Biswal, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, noted that President Barack Obama had said the US-India relationship would be "one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century".