U.S. energy secretary to visit India from March 10-12

WASHINGTON Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:16am IST

United States Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz listens to speakers during the grand opening of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert near the California-Nevada border February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

United States Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz listens to speakers during the grand opening of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert near the California-Nevada border February 13, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Steve Marcus

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will visit India from March 10 to 12 to participate in talks canceled last month during a diplomatic dispute between the two countries, the Energy Department said on Wednesday.

Moniz, who will meet with Indian energy officials, had planned to visit India in January, but the trip was canceled amid a dispute over the arrest in New York of Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul.

India was furious about her arrest, handcuffing and strip- search after she was accused by U.S. prosecutors of underpaying her nanny and lying on a visa application.

Moniz disclosed his plans to visit India during an event at the National Press Club.

The United States and India pledged cooperation last September when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama held talks.

They said at the time that energy-sector cooperation was an important pillar of the India-U.S. strategic partnership. The two leaders discussed ways to strengthen their countries' efforts to promote energy efficiency and clean energy and address climate change.

India is interested in exports of liquefied natural gas from the United States, which is expanding its ability to ship the fuel abroad.

Indian officials have said that access to U.S. LNG would help India reduce its dependence on the Middle East for crude oil and give it access to a cleaner energy source.

A Energy Department spokeswoman said she could not yet disclose details of Moniz's trip.

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney)

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