Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the United States — the first by a head of state after Barack Obama became president — is expected to “take the strategic partnership between the two countries to the next level”, a government spokesperson said on Friday.
Singh and Obama will discuss counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and climate change among other things in Washington on Tuesday (November 24).
“…there is a new administration in America. So it is appropriate I should renew our partnership,” Singh told the Washington Post on the eve of his departure. “My hope is that we can persuade the US administration to be more liberal when it comes to transferring technologies to us.”
Obama will also host Singh in his first state banquet on Tuesday. “The PM is honoured by the invitation,” a senior Ministry of External Affairs official said.
The two countries are expected to conclude at least 10 agreements on terrorism, education, trade and investment, agriculture, health and green technologies.
The showpiece will likely be the Singh-Obama Knowledge Initiative — a partnership that will pan university education, scholarship, technology and knowledge economy, according to officials.
On what he expected to achieve in Washington, Singh said: “Nuclear cooperation, cooperation in education, closer linkages between our university systems…”
On the terror front, investigations into the alleged Lashkar links of David Headley and Tahawwur Rana will be discussed. The official said India has “reason to be satisfied with the levels of cooperation from the US”.
Singh will also meet Vice-President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top American diplomats during his five-day visit.
On November 26, he leaves for Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, for the Commmonwealth Heads of Nations Meet.