US, India Open Bilateral Talks in Washington

The Obama administration is seeking to improve relations with India during the four-day U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, which begins Tuesday in Washington.

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Bob Blake told reporters last week that President Barack Obama considers India an "indispensable" partner. Blake says India matters because it is the world's largest democracy, and has the world's second-fastest growing economy, making it an important source of exports for U.S. companies.

Mr. Obama signaled India's growing importance on the world stage when he hosted a state dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the White House last November, the first of his presidency.

But observers say the relationship between Washington and New Delhi has suffered during Mr. Obama's first year in office, with the administration focusing more on Pakistan, India's bitter rival.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, wall street journal and Reuters