PM Manmohan Singh meets Barack Obama, says Pakistan remains epicentre of terror

After welcoming Dr Manmohan Singh at the Oval Office, US President Barack Obama thanked the Prime Minister for consistently pushing for peace with Pakistan.

Updated: Sep 27, 2013, 23:49 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: Avowing that the epicentre of terrorism remains in Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said he was looking forward to meeting Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday, but expectations were down after Thursday`s attacks in Jammu.

Addressing the media after talks with US President Barack Obama, he said the expectations have to be lowered given the terror arm which is still active in our sub-continent.

On his talks with Obama, he said, "We discussed the situation in the region, including Afghanistan and Pakistan. I explained to President Obama the difficulties that we face given the fact that the epicentre of terror still remains focussed in Pakistan."

Obama welcomed Dr Singh at the Oval Office, calling him a friend and partner.

He thanked the Indian Prime Minister for consistently pushing for peace with Pakistan.

Referring to the twin terror attacks, Obama said his heart goes out to families of those who lost their lives.

Thirteen people, including a Lieutenant Colonel of the Army, were killed in the audacious attack by terrorists.

Stating that India continues to suffer from terrorism, Obama said the US and India have a shared interest in reducing tensions with Pakistan.

On his part, Obama said both of them discussed Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"We had a chance to discuss Pakistan and our shared interest in seeing a peaceful reduction of tensions on the subcontinent."

"We want to very much thank Prime Minister Singh for what has been a consistent interest in improving cooperation between India and Pakistan," Obama said praising the efforts of the Prime Minister in improving relationship with Pakistan.

Prime Minister Singh praised Obama`s vision of giving diplomacy yet another chance in Syria and Iran, saying India fully supports these initiatives because six million Indians eke their livelihood in the Middle East.

"Therefore anything that contributes to peace and security in Iran and Syria will help global peace and economy," he said.

India and the US have reached the first commercial agreement on civilian nuclear power, five years after a landmark deal between the two countries was clinched.

Addressing a joint media interaction after talks with Dr Singh, Obama disclosed that the two countries have sealed the agreement.

"We`ve made enormous progress on the issue of civilian nuclear power, and in fact, have been able to achieve just in the last few days an agreement on the first commercial agreement between a US company and India on civilian nuclear power," Obama said.

The meeting between Obama and Dr Singh came amid concerns that the close partnership between the US and India has stagnated in recent years.

Obama also hailed India`s progress on civilian nuclear power.

The two leaders said they were focused on reducing India`s poverty.

The PM is currently in the United States on a two-day official visit to attend the UN General Assembly session.
Dr Singh arrived at the White House accompanied by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, NSA Shivshankar Menon, Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh and Ambassador Nirupama Rao.

After his Washington visit, Dr Singh will address the UN General Assembly session in New York on Saturday.

He is scheduled to return home on Tuesday.

(With PTI inputs)