Washington: US President Barack Obama on Tuesday described India as a vibrant and responsible global power, saying the South Asian nation will play a pivotal role in meeting global challenges.
Issuing a joint statement at a press conference here after holding talks with visiting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the White House, Obama said: "India today is a rising and responsible global power in Asia. Indian leadership is expanding security across the region."
He further declared that ties between the two countries would be "one of the defining relationships" of the 21st century.
‘Committed to N-deal’
Commenting on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, Obama reaffirmed his commitment to fully implementing the agreement.
Dr Singh too said that they have agreed on the early and full implementation of the nuclear deal.
“President Obama has reaffirmed that it is a common resolve of the two countries to operationalise the nuclear deal as early as possible,” Dr Singh said. “It is only a question of `i`s and `t`s to be crossed. I am confident and I have the assurance of the President that this process will be over without much further loss of time,” he added.
“Transfer of nuclear technology and lifting of curbs on export of dual use technology will open up vast fields for research in industry of both the countries,” the PM further told the press conference.
Obama meanwhile expressed hope that India would participate in next year`s nuclear summit.
Saying the US stands with India in remembering the Mumbai terror attacks, Obama said, “We agreed that our law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies will work even closer including sharing information.”
"We both recognize that our core goal is to achieve peace and security for all peoples in the region, not just one country or the other," the US president said further, adding the US and India were natural allies.
During their discussions, Dr Singh and Obama also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism.
The PM, on his part, said forces of terror in the South Asian region pose a grave threat to all, adding India and the US have decided to strengthen bilateral cooperation in tackling the menace.
‘No US mediation in Indo-Pak issues’
Meanwhile, ruling out any form of mediation between India and Pakistan Obama said, “It is not for the US to try to resolve from outside issues between India and Pakistan.”
While accepting there were historic conflicts between India and Pakistan, Obama said that his government will “encourage ways in which both the countries will feel secure in working out peace and development of their people”.
Obama further said, "Obviously Pakistan has an enormously important role in the security in the region by making sure that the extremist organisations that often operate out of its territories are dealt with effectively."
On Afghanistan, Obama said he would announce his strategy "shortly" and predicted: "I feel very confident that when the American people hear a clear rationale for what we`re doing there and how we intend to achieve our goals, that they will be supportive."
‘Progress on climate talks’
Obama meanwhile said he and Dr Singh made important progress on talks relating to climate change, adding they have agreed for “a comprehensive agreement in Copenhagen and undertake national mitigation actions”.
"Both President (Barack) Obama and I have agreed on the need for a substantive and comprehensive outcome, which would cover mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology," Dr Singh said.
"We reaffirmed our intention to work to this end, bilaterally and with all other countries," the PM added.
On his part, Obama said that it`s essential that all countries do what is necessary to reach a strong operational agreement that will confront the threat of climate change while serving as a stepping stone to a legally binding treaty.
"We`ve made progress in confronting climate change. I commended the Prime Minister for India`s leadership in areas like green buildings and energy efficiency.
"And we agreed to a series of important new efforts: a clean-energy initiative that will create jobs and improve people`s access to cleaner, more affordable energy; a green
partnership to reduce poverty through sustainable and equitable development; and a historic effort to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels," Obama said.
‘US a great country’
While saying he was honoured to be in this “great country”, Dr Singh said “when India and US meet, it is a moment to celebrate democracy, pluralism”.
Talking about the meeting, Dr Singh said he and Obama discussed the importance of the bilateral relationship and future steps to improve it further.
“We also agreed to intensify our trade investment and economic cooperation in a way that creates jobs and prosperity in both our two countries and stimulates global economic recovery," the PM stated.
"The global economic crisis has brought home the fact that our prosperity is interlinked," he added.
The Prime Minister also invited Obama to visit India, which the US President happily accepted.
"I am happy to accept Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s invitation to visit India next year," Obama told reporters, while describing 77-year-old Singh as a "wise leader" and a "man of honesty and integrity".
Dr Singh`s trip, the first state visit of Obama administration, "reflects our admiration for the Prime Minister`s leadership, the deep bonds between the peoples of the United States and India, and the historic opportunity we have to strengthen and broaden the partnership between our nations," Obama said.
This visit underscores the strengthening of that partnership, which he hopes will continue throughout his presidency, the 48-year-old leader added.