PM meets Robert Gates, discusses Af-Pak situation
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Last Updated: Monday, November 23, 2009, 22:10
  
Washington: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday kicked-off his State Visit to the US by meeting Defence Secretary Robert Gates and the two are understood to have discussed issues of bilateral interest and situation in the region.

Gates called on Singh, who arrived here yesterday on a four-day visit, at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel, and the two leaders were closetted for over 30 minutes.

In his initial remarks, Singh told Gates that India and US share a deep strategic relationship. They also discussed about the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Singh and Gates are understood to have discussed the counter-terrorism methods and also about stepping up cooperation against the menace.

The meeting between Singh and Gates assume significance as it comes just hours before the Situation Room meeting by President Barack Obama to discuss the administration's strategy on Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The US considers India as an effective partner in Afghanistan where New Delhi has been engaging in reconstruction activities.

Singh, who will meet Obama tomorrow and hold talks with him, will also address the Senate Foreign Relations Committee late tonight and meet several influential lawmakers.

Singh will also address the US-India Joint Business Forum besides meeting Vice President Joseph Biden, Speaker of House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and a host of other senior leaders.

The two countries will sign a number of pacts, including an MoU on counter-terrorism to provide a legal framework for stepped up cooperation against the menace, and discuss the problem of climate change ahead of the Copenhagen Summit.

During the talks with Obama, the Prime Minister is expected to register India's concerns over diversion of US aid by Pakistan and press for ensuring accountability to prevent misuse of funds and equipment, sources said.

PTI


First Published: Monday, November 23, 2009, 22:10


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