Washington: As Indo-US trade is poised to cross USD 100 billion, Washington has asked New Delhi to push up momentum on a bilateral investment treaty.

"The negotiations on the treaty should be pushed up," former US Ambassador to India, Tim Roemer has suggested, saying this would open the gates to a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries in the next five years.

Declaring that the ties between the two countries have scaled new heights under the Obama Administration, Roemer said that the thriving relationship was fundamentally anchored in shared values and common interest.

"We have seen India-US relationship expansion take place all over," Roemer said in a round table with a group of Indian journalists ahead of the third India-US Strategic Dialogue next week, which would be co-chaired by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.

Krishna would lead a high-powered Indian delegation of at least half a dozen Cabinet rank officials for the Strategic Dialogue, which was started when Roemer was the US Ambassador to India.

Roemer strongly pushed for the acceleration of negotiations on the bilateral investment treaty, which he said would pave the way for the next big-ticket item of Free Trade Agreement between India and the United States in the next five years.

Acknowledging that there were some challenges in this relationship in particular on the economic side, Roemer hoped that these challenges would be addressed next week, including problems of multi-brand retails.

"We have seen historic and very important civil-nuke agreement go backward in some ways the parliament passing liability legislation and turn it upside down," said the former Ambassador to India, who is now the National Security Advisor to the Obama Campaign.

"I firmly believe that this relationship moving from some transactional sector agreements in the economic relationship can move to transformational trade relationship which benefits the middle class in both countries," he said.

(Agencies)

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