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Obama 'greatly values' Indo-US ties, looking forward to meet PM

world Updated: Mar 31, 2009 11:43 IST
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Ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the White House has said President Barack Obama greatly values Indo-US relationship and wants to "further advance the impressive partnership" the two countries have established in the last one decade.

Obama leaves on Tuesday to attend the G-20 summit in London on the sidelines of which he would be meeting Singh on April 2.

This would be Obama's first meeting with the Indian leader after he was elected as President last year, to which he is eagerly "looking forward to", the White House said.

"The President is looking forward to meeting with Prime Minister Singh in London," Mike Hammer, spokesman of National Security Council, White House, told PTI.

"He greatly values the US-India relationship and wants to continue, build on, and advance further the impressive partnership that has been established," Hammer said.

The President recognises and appreciates the incredible contribution made by Indian-Americans to the US economy and society and also the vast connections that are developing between Indian and American investors, academics, and families, he said.

Obama hopes to foster and nurture those relationships through bilateral and regional initiatives that support strong ties, he said.

"The President also believes that the US and India have common interests and concerns on many global issues and he hopes to be able to work with India to address these challenges together in a spirit of mutual cooperation," Hammer said.

During the meeting the two leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of issues, prominent among them being the current situation in India's immediate neighbourhood, Afghanistan and Pakistan and Obama's new Af-Pak policy, which he unveiled last week.

The current global economic crisis, climate change and the bilateral relationship too would dominate the meetings.

Speaking to a group of select foreign journalists, including PTI, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Monday said the two leaders would be taking stock of the full range of issues and interests between the two countries.

"I think, we start with a very good working relationship with the economic agencies involved. We are trying to figure out how to build on that. Obviously we will listen to the ideas from the Indian government. It is important that we work out something that both sides believe would be practical and effective," he said.

Meeting foreign journalists along with him, the Deputy National Security Advisor, Michael BG Froman, said the Obama Administration is discussing with Indian counterparts how to make the "most out of the" Indo-US CEOs forum.

Last week it was the Deputy Secretary of State, James Steinberg, who made public for the first time the broader outline of the Obama Administration's policy towards India.

"As India approaches national elections in the coming months, we look forward to developing a comprehensive agenda -- doing more bilaterally, regionally, and globally, across the full spectrum of economic, political and security challenges," he had said addressing a meeting at the Brookings Institution.

The new administration not only wants to build on the bilateral relationship, but also wants India to play a key role in resolving regional and addressing global issues together, he said.

"As India emerges as one of the worlds' leading economic and political powers, the central question are how the United States and India can work together to address the regional and global challenges that no one country alone can solve," Steinberg said.

The real test of Indo-US relationship, he had said: "Will be how we work together on the great common challenges of our era - strengthening the global trade and investment system, addressing transnational threats like nuclear weapons proliferation, terrorism and pandemic disease, and meeting the urgent danger posed by climate change."