Washington: India's candidature for membership of the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was supported by US President Barack Obama on Tuesday as he discussed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi ways to take the bilateral ties to new heights.
Addressing the media jointly with Obama after over hour-long talks at the White House, PM Modi said that the two leaders discussed a wide range of issues, particularly ways to take the bilateral economic ties to new heights.
The PM also said, "I am thankful for the help and support that my friend President Obama has extended with regard to membership in MTCR and NSG."
Modi added that India and the US have worked shoulder-to-shoulder in meeting the challenges that face, not only the two countries, but the entire world.
"Over the last two years, India and the US have been cooperating on global issues like climate change, nuclear security, terrorism. I feel proud, not just as friends but as two countries, on this and we will continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder. The more we work together in new areas, the better it is for the benefit of the world as well as our two countries, which our dream," he said.
PM Modi pointed out that US was 'well aware' of the talent of India, a country which is 'young" with 800 million people below 35 years of age.
"Our youth power can work with the United States to achieve new heights," he said.
The Prime Minister asserted that India today was the fastest growing economy of the world and that the two countries should cooperate more in new areas.
On his part, Obama said that it was natural for India and the US, two biggest democracies, to 'deepen and broaden' partnership.
He further said that they had discussed progress made in the Civil Nuclear agreement. "I indicated support to India being a part of NSG," the US President said amidst opposition by China to such a move.
Obama said non-proliferation of nuclear material and technology was also discussed. "I also mentioned the Prime Minister's very effective participation in the Nuclear Security Summit," he said.
At the same time, Obama underlined that India needs technology which is critical for its progress and prosperity.
Traditional security challenges as well as new challenges, like cyber security, were discussed during the talks, the US President said.
While informing that they also discussed "important regional issues", he said that US and India have "shared vision of peace and development" and that "complex issues" should be resolved diplomatically.
Referring to the Climate Change summit in Paris in December last year, he said that the joining of forces between India and US helped forge the historical agreement to effectively deal with climate change.
"We discussed how we can, as quickly as possible bring the Paris agreement into force, how we can make sure that, how climate financing that is necessary for India to embark on the bold vision for solar energy and clean energy that PM Modi has laid out, can be accomplished," Obama said.
Giving a personal touch, the US President commented that it was "great pleasure to welcome back my friend Prime Minister Modi to the Oval Office."
He received PM Modi with a warm embrace.
— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) June 7, 2016
At the outset, Obama recollected his visit to India in January last year as chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations and "the incredible hospitality" he had received.
"I still have fond memories of being honored by the PM's invitation to participate in the Republic Day parade in India," he said.
Later PM Modi tweeted the following -
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 7, 2016
PM Modi is currently on a three-day US visit. He is scheduled to address the joint session of the US Congress tomorrow. He will be the fifth Indian PM to do so.
PM Modi arrived here on Monday from Switzerland on his second bilateral visit to the US after his trip in September, 2014. This is PM Modi's fourth visit to the US since he assumed office in May 2014.
The PM is visiting US at the invitation of Obama, who in the last year of his presidency is inviting a few world leaders with whom he shared a 'close and productive working relationship'.
Since 2014, there have been six meetings and countless phone calls between Obama and PM Modi.
(With PTI inputs)