PM leaves for Port of Spain after four-day US visit

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday wound up his four-day State visit here, first by a foreign leader under the 10-month-old Obama Administration.

Washington: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
on Thursday wound up his four-day State visit here, first by a
foreign leader under the 10-month-old Obama Administration,
during which the two countries decided to transform their ties
into "one of the defining" relationships of the 21st century.

Singh was given a warm send-off in the form of a 19-gun
salute and guard of honour amid a drizzle at the Andrews Air
Force base as he left for Port of Spain in Trinidad and
Tobago, where he will attend the two-day Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting (CHOGM) beginning tomorrow.

India and the US signed MoUs in counter-terrorism and five
other pacts during the visit that marked recognition of the
special status accorded to India by President Barack Obama,
who shares a special rapport with Singh.

Singh held talks with Obama on the entire gamut of
bilateral relations, situation in the region and global
challenges like terrorism, climate change and economic crisis.

"I am satisfied with the visit," Singh said hours before
wrapping up the trip and travelling to Port of Spain.

One of the key highlights of the visit was the State
banquet hosted by Obama at the White House for Singh and his
wife Gursharan Kaur, a gala event to which enormous colour was
added by a cultural programme and special Indian cuisine.

The visit received immense attention in the American
media, which commented on the rising influence and leadership
of India.

Describing his tour as very productive, Singh said "I am
confident that we cannot only continue but also strengthen the
momentum of our relations built up in the last few years."

He said Obama recognised the important role India-US
relations can play in meeting the global challenges of the
21st century.

"We agreed that there is a historic opportunity for India
and the United States to work together for world peace and
stability on the basis of our shared values, consensus and
cooperation," he said.

"We discussed several ideas on how we can work together
to accelerate global economic recovery and put it on a more
sustainable and balanced path in the future," Singh said.

Explaining the reason for inviting Singh as his State
guest, Obama said it "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

He noted that India today is a rising and responsible
global power whose leadership in Asia is expanding prosperity
and security across the region.

"The United States welcomes and encourages India`s
leadership role in helping to shape the rise of a stable,
peaceful and prosperous Asia," he said.