Obama to meet Manmohan in Bali on Nov 18

US President Barack Obama would meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Bali on November 18.

Washington: US President Barack Obama would meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Bali on November 18 on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit, a top presidential aide said on Wednesday.

Meeting for the first time in about an year, the two leaders are expected to review the progress of the bi-lateral ties since Obama`s visit to India last November; besides discussing a wide range of issues including Afghanistan, economic ties and security relationship, the official said.

"India, of course, as a rapidly growing economy, as a strong democracy and as an important security partner and counterterrorism partner in South Asia, is a very important relationship to the United States," Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, told reporters during an off camera briefing at the White House.

"He (Obama) and Prime Minister Singh have not had the chance to meet in some time. They`ll have the ability to discuss regional developments, to discuss Afghanistan, to discuss our deepening economic and commercial ties with India,
as well as to discuss the East Asia Summit," Rhodes said.

Observing that the Obama Administration values its relationship with India, the White House official said the country plays an important role in the Asia Pacific region.

Rhodes said the US "has been an anchor of security in Asia-Pacific since World War II, essentially."

The Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications said the "core of that is our alliances with Australia, Korea, Japan and several other countries," but "from the beginning of this administration (it has) engaged the emerging powers in Asia-Pacific, China and India, Indonesia and others, as well as engaged regional institutions like APEC and the East Asia Summit that the president will be
participating in".

Briefing reporters on Obama`s long-trip to the region that would take him to Australia and Indonesia, Rhodes said India would also figure when the US President addresses the Australian Parliament.

"This will really be the anchor speech by the President in his first term on how the US sees the Asia-Pacific, the efforts that we`ve taken, again, within the region over the course of the last three years to strengthen our core alliances, to engage emerging powers like China and India and others, and to engage Asian regional institutions, like APEC and the East Asia Summit, he said.

"I think he`ll focus on the economic agenda in the Asia-Pacific and the enormous potential of deepening economic ties. He`ll focus on the security agenda, including the US posture in the region going forward, our defence posture, as well as our alliance and political relationships," Rhodes said.

PTI

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