The much anticipated meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US president Barack Obama is set to take place in Bali, Indonesia, later this month.
The venue is significant because the meeting is taking place on the sidelines of the East Asia summit and the India-ASEAN summit, months after the US asked India to “not just look east, but to engage east and act east as well’ in an oblique reference to an assertive China.
While the assertive China does factor in US’s east Asia calculus, the other important bilateral meet will be between singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Bali.
Cambodia and Indonesia are the two other countries Singh will be engaging bilaterally in Bali, government sources told Hindustan Times.
The PM will be embarking on Indonesia-Singapore trip from November 17 to 20.
It has been a while since the meeting between Singh and Obama took place.
Due to what Indian officials had then termed as "scheduling issues" Singh couldn't meet Obama on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York in September.
A meeting also couldn't be scheduled on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Cannes. The PM will be in France from November 2 to 5 for the G-20 summit as well as the annual India-France summit.
In the past G-20 venues had witnessed Obama-Singh meets. In fact, the first substantial meeting between the two leaders was on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in London in 2009. They had also met on the sidelines of the G- 20 summit in Toronto in early 2010.
However, as US's policy focus shifts from middle-east and Europe's economic crisis, to east Asia, Indonesia — where Obama spent part of his childhood — is becoming a key venue.
The meeting between the Prime Minister and Wen Jiabao is also significant. The meeting is taking place after the first India-China strategic economic dialogue.