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Efforts on to make Manmohan visit to US a success

world Updated: Oct 31, 2009 22:41 IST

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India and the US are making concerted efforts to make Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's upcoming state visit to America, the first such visit under the Obama administration, a success with top officials making preparatory visits.

Among the visitors from India last week was the National Security Adviser M K Narayanan who met with key US officials focussing on the emerging strategic relationship between the two nations since the signing of US-India civil nuclear deal.
In his interaction with his US counterpart General James Jones, Narayanan "a wide range of issues were touched upon that reflects the strategic partnership between the United States and India," according to the National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer.

"The focus of the meeting certainly was trying to make excellent preparations for a successful State visit" by Manmohan Singh, who is set to meet President Barack Obama at the White House Nov 24 as the President's first guest at a state dinner.

Jones met with his Indian counterpart "as part of the ongoing relationship that they have developed" dating back to their meetings in London and Delhi earlier this year," he said. The two had "a broad discussion" on a number of subjects of mutual interest and concern.

The low-profile visit of Narayanan occurred just before the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left for Pakistan along with Special US Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke.

Human Resource Development Minsiter Kapil Sibal has just concluded a visit with a delegation of top Indian university representatives to drum up US interest in investing in Indian higher education.

A new US-India Education Council on the lines of the US-India Business Council is on the anvil. A new forum of India and US CEOs is also expected to be formed and to meet with Obama and Manmohan Singh during the visit.

Meanwhile, more than 30 US government visitors of deputy assistant secretary rank or higher have been or will be in India to lay the ground for the Prime Minister's visit.

Earlier this week, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, on a Delhi visit, noted that the US is currently India's second-largest export destination but is America's 18th largest trading partner and a lot can be done to close that gap.