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Ahead of PM's visit, India, US discuss global issues

The build-up to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Washington later this month moved into top gear as India and the US on Thursday discussed a host of global issues ranging from democracy and human rights to climate change and public health.

india Updated: Nov 07, 2009 16:20 IST

The build-up to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Washington later this month moved into top gear as India and the US on Thursday discussed a host of global issues ranging from democracy and human rights to climate change and public health.

The US team led by Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs María Otero held the seventh US-India Global Issues Forum with Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and top Indian officials.

The two sides discussed ways of expanding cooperation on global issues, including democracy, human rights, environment, science, population, refugees and migration, trafficking in persons and pandemic influenza.

Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunchal Pradesh, which China is opposing, also figured in the discussions, sources said.

Otero is also Special co-ordinator for Tibetan issues. When the Dalai Lama visited Washington, he met Otero, one of the few high-ranking US officials the Tibetan leader met in a visit that attracted a lot of attention due to Obama backing down on meeting him, reportedly under Chinese pressure.

Otero's visit is one of the first in a string of high-profile trips by US officials to India in the run-up to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's first visit to the Barack Obama White House Nov 24.

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Under secretary of State for Disarmament Ellen Taushcher, Under Secretary for Defence Michele Flournoy are among top officials who are expected to be in India to firm up the agenda for talks between Manmohan Singh and Obama.