PM leaves for US; terror high on agenda

Last Updated: Saturday, November 21, 2009 - 18:13

New Delhi: The first substantive bilateral engagement between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama on November 24 here is expected to set forth the framework of how the Indo-US relationship would develop in the next few years.

Meeting in the backdrop of Mr. Obama’s visit to China, where Indo-Pak ties found its way into the Sino-U.S. joint statement much to the anguish of New Delhi, it would also be an opportunity for the two leaders to set forth their vision of relationship and inform the people of the two countries how they want to take forward this relationship.

After the one-on-one meeting on Tuesday, both Mr. Singh and Mr. Obama are expected to come out with a joint statement, Indian officials said.

This is likely to set the tone of the ‘Phase Three’ of the relationship between the two countries, the foundation to which was laid during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to India in July, where the two countries announced the start of a strategic dialogue.

Ms. Clinton has termed the start of the relationship with the Obama Presidency as the US—India 3.0 or the third phase.

Besides five pillars of the strategic dialogue, the two leaders are expected to spend considerable amount of time on discussing cooperation between the two countries in the field of counter-terrorism.

Mr. Obama is also expected to brief the Prime Minister on his recent trip to Asia, in particular to China and his impression about China, the sources said.

In the process of searching the right policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mr. Obama is also expected to discuss the issue with Mr. Singh and seek his “valuable inputs“.

The Obama Administration considers India as a major player in Afghanistan and has been highly appreciative of India’s massive developmental works in that country.

While officials from both sides are reluctant to compare the current State visit with that of 2005 when the landmark Indo-US civilian nuclear deal was announced, they do concede that several new initiatives could be announced as a result of the discussion between the two leaders.

Besides counter-terrorism, other prominent areas include green technology, education, health, agriculture and trade and commerce.

The incomplete agenda of the Indo-US nuclear deal too is likely to be taken up by the two sides — with both of them reiterating their commitment to the historic agreement and the need for its implementation at the earliest.

Climate change too is expected to be on the agenda of the two leaders.

PTI




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