PM reaches Washington, says India needs US on its side
Washington: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here on Friday on a two-day "working visit" to meet President Barack Obama at the White House on Friday, saying India needs US on its side as it gives a new added thrust to development programmes.
Describing US as an "important strategic partner", Singh said during Obama`s regime, "We have taken several steps to widen and deepen this partnership in diverse ways."
During this visit the two sides will review the progress that has been made and also what further can be done to give "added meaning and content to this partnership", he told reporters soon after his arrival at the Andrews Air Force Base where he was received by acting deputy chief of protocol Rosemarie Pauli. Singh and Obama are expected to discuss a wide range of issues with focus on defence, economic and regional issues.
"The US is one of India`s most important trading partners. It is also an important provider of investment and technology support for India`s development and we need the United States on our side as we give a new added thrust to our development programmes."
The Prime Minister said during his meeting with Obama, the two sides will review the international situation.
"We will also review the international situation, particularly with regard to international economic situation, situation in the region, South East Asia, the Middle East, West Asia and in all these areas."
"We would discuss ways and means in which India and the United States can keep each other informed about the concern of the other party," he said. The Prime Minister is accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid would join Singh from New York later in the day.
The White House said Obama is "looking forward" to the meeting with Singh at the Oval Office on Friday.
Following the meeting, the two leaders would issue a joint statement in a brief media interaction.
Thereafter, Obama would host Singh for a lunch.
First Lady Michelle Obama would be hosting Kaur for a private tea at the White House.
Ahead of the visit, the White House praised the role of Singh in transforming the India-US relationship.
"From the US perspective, we have made a strategic bet on relationship with India and the strategic bet that would carry us forward in the next century," a senior administration official said.
The purpose of "short working visit" is both to reflect and appreciate the decade of this transformation and the commitments of the leaders in the government to the strategic partnership, the official said.
It is also to "set out a road map for the path ahead" into the next century, the senior official said.
Singh is scheduled to leave Washington for New York immediately after his meeting with Obama.
In New York, Singh would address the UN General Assembly session on Saturday and is expected to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on September 29.
He is scheduled to return home on Monday.
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