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PM meets Robert Gates, discusses Af-Pak situation

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.



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

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