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US strongly supports India’s membership in the NSG: Obama tells Modi

India’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group received fresh endorsement from the US as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama met on Thursday

india Updated: Sep 08, 2016 20:48 IST
US President Barack Obama (R) meets with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane on Thursday.
US President Barack Obama (R) meets with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane on Thursday.(AFP Photo)

India’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group received fresh endorsement from the US as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama met on the margins of the East Asia Summit to discuss cooperation under the bilateral strategic partnership.

Obama praised Modi’s initiatives to reform India’s economy, especially the recent passage of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) bill, which the US President said would “unleash significant economic activity”.

During the meeting, described as “very warm and friendly”, Obama also said Modi’s vision of entrepreneurship and innovation would be “very important for a country like India”, sources were quoted as saying by PTI.

Obama said the US “strongly supports India’s membership in the NSG”, a White House official said after the meeting.

The US has been playing a lead role in supporting India’s application to join the 48-member NSG that controls trade in nuclear technology and know-how. China blocked India’s bid at the NSG’s plenary session in Seoul in June.

The two leaders reviewed the priorities in the strategic partnership and discussed climate change and energy cooperation. They also reviewed progress in collaboration in nuclear and solar energy and innovation, sources said.

Obama thanked Modi for his cooperation on a “broad range of global and bilateral issues” and commended Modi’s leadership in “addressing the urgent threats posed by climate change”, the White House official said.

“The leaders noted our joint commitment, fulfilled by the US in advance of the G20 Leaders’ Summit, to join the Paris Agreement this year as well as our resolve to adopt an ambitious HFC amendment to the Montreal Protocol this year,” the official added.

Obama also said he had always been a friend of India and would continue to be a “strong partner of India and help in any way I can”, the sources said.

“Had a great discussion with President of the US (POTUS) on India-USA relations,” Modi tweeted after the meeting, their eighth in the past two years.

Modi invited Obama to visit India after the end of his term, and the President replied he would welcome any opportunity to travel to India. Obama noted he and his wife Michelle were yet to see the Taj Mahal. Last year, Obama cancelled a planned trip to the Taj Mahal when he cut short his visit to India to travel to Saudi Arabia following King Abdullah’s death.

This could be the last meeting between Modi and Obama as the leaders of their countries as the President’s second term in office ends in January. They met for the first time at the White House in September 2014 and recently held talks on the margins of the G20 Summit in China on Sunday.