Singh, Obama set to discuss Pak situation during April 2 meeting | india | Hindustan Times
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Singh, Obama set to discuss Pak situation during April 2 meeting

india Updated: Mar 29, 2009 11:33 IST
H S Rao
H S Rao
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is set to have his first one-on-one meeting with President Barack Obama in London on April 2 when they will discuss the volatile situation in Pakistan, days after the US leader vowed to root out the "cancer" of terrorism emanating from within the Pakistani borders.

Their meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit will be crucial, given the fact that the explosive situation in Pakistan is the most pressing foreign policy concern of the Obama Administration, according to sources.

Obama, unveiling his new Afghan-Pak policy on March 27, had made it clear that Pakistan must demonstrate commitment to root out al-Qaeda and other militant groups within its border.

He also vowed to work more resolutely to "disrupt, defeat and dismantle" extremists and their safe havens in the region and underlined that Pakistan needed the US help to wipe out the "cancer" of terrorism emanating from its soil.

After releasing the new strategy for the region, the Obama Administration said it had "actively consulted" India during the comprehensive review of the Afghan-Pak policy.

A host of other international, regional and bilateral issues are also likely to figure during the talks between Singh and Obama, the first highest level contact between India and the new US Administration which assumed office two months ago.

Benjamin Chang, Deputy Spokesman of National Security Council at the White House, had earlier said in Washington that the two leaders will discuss issues like the Afghanistan-Pakistan strategic review, climate change and the world economy.

US Deputy Secretary of State James B Steinberg had said that Washington was committed to expanding its relationship with India.

“The United States and India must work together to help address what is one of the most urgent security challenges facing us -- to work with the democratic governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan to root out the violent forces that threaten the stability of the region and pose a direct danger to the Indian and American homelands.

“We are joined in the searing memories of September 11 and Mumbai in understanding the urgency and importance of this task,” he had said in Washington.

Both Obama and Singh arrive here on Tuesday for the G-20 summit at the Excel Centre of London’s Docklands.

On Wednesday, Singh, Obama and other leaders will attend a dinner hosted by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street. The dinner will be prepared by the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

The spouses of leaders will dine separately, hosted by Sarah Brown, the wife of the British Premier.