Confirming a bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN general assembly, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said he was looking forward to it. Singh and Sharif would be in New York from September 27 to 29.
Singh, who left for the US on Wednesday for a bilateral visit and to attend the UNGA meet, said his "visit was an opportunity to review joint efforts and chart a course for future cooperation" with the US.
"We see the US as a long-term partner in our development efforts, and in fostering a global environment that is conducive to our growth. For India, the US remains a key source of technology, investment, innovation and resources, and one of the most important destinations for our goods and services," the PM said in a statement before departure.
As of now, the meeting between Singh and US President Obama is expected to be of 20 minutes, which will be followed by the President hosting a “working” lunch for the Prime Minister and a joint press meet at the white house on September 27.
In the run-up to the meeting, it is learnt there was even a US suggestion of vice-president Joe Biden hosting lunch for Prime Minister after the meeting with Obama.
Singh is expected to flag concerns over the proposed changes in US visa rules which would affect the highly-skilled IT professionals from India.
The regional situation in Afghanistan, East Asia are also expected to come up during the discussion. Singh was the first state guest of the Obama presidency and when he visited India in December 2010, Obama became the first US president to visit India in his first term.
In the defence field, besides discussions on future purchases, the two sides will move into joint design, development and production of defence equipments.
Singh will travel from Washington to New York on September 27 evening and will address the UNGA the next day.
Singh is also set to meet Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.