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Pak will do more against terror: Obama tells Manmohan Singh

US President Barack Obama said Pakistan has begun to recognise extremism can do no good and “there is some progress” in taking action against terrorists located on its soil. Calling India a rising and responsible global power, Obama said his government is committed to the India-US civil nuclear deal. Varghese K George reports. Full coverage | Full text of PM's speech | Listen to podcast | In pics

world Updated: Nov 25, 2009 03:18 IST
Varghese K George

Pakistan has begun to recognise extremism can do no good and “there is some progress” in taking action against terrorists located on its soil, said US President Barack Obama.

Addressing a joint press conference with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the White House after the duo discussed at the State dining room on issues ranging from regional security to climate change, Obama said he was confident that there would be "further clarity and determination" on Pakistan's part to act against terrorism.

"Pakistan's role is crucial in countering terrorism. And they are taking action in South Waziristan and SWAT. Our policy towards Pakistan is being refocused. So far we have had a single focus approach, on the military aspects of it. We realise
strengthening the Pakistani civil society is equally important," the President said.

The President said it is in the strategic interests of the US to not let Al-Qaida operate and his new policy for the region will be announced soon aftter the Thanks Giving week. Obama said he shared India's grief on the first anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks.

Obama said his government is committed to the full operationalisation of the India-US civil nuclear cooperation deal and both have resolved to strive for a "comprehensive and substantive" agreement at the Copenhagen conference on climate change next month.

A much awaited joint statement of the two leaders did not materialise by the time of the press conference, but both paid rich complements to each other, as the PM's state visit was inagurated. "Namaste," the US President said opening the presser.

"Prime Minister Singh is a wise leader," Obama said, accepting an invitation to visit India next year. "A very warm welcome awaits you, your gracious wife and two daughters," the PM said. An American diplomat, eager to find a binding between the two before the visit began, had pointed out that both were fathers of daughters. The personal chemistry between George
Bush and Singh was noticeable and both the US and Indian sides were enthusiastice to find one between Obama and Singh too.

In the morning, heavy rains forced the White House to shift the ceremonial reception for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from the south lawns to the East Room.

But the warmth between the two leaders was palpable when President Barack Obama declared that Singh’s visit, being the first state visit since his presidency began, reflected the “abiding bonds” between the two nations.

"I appreciate your personal committment to Indo-US ties," the PM told Obama.

The White House hosted at least two dozen world leaders after Obama took over, but Singh's is the first state visit and it includes a banquet in honour of the PM. The last time an Indian PM was hosted for a banquet at White House was A B Vajpayee in 2000.

Welcoming the PM, President Obama said India and the US shared a “common story”, of breaking away from the empire and establishing a Republic based on a constitution and the principles of liberty, justice and equality.

Vice president Joe Biden and several members of the US cabinet including secretary of states Hillary Clinton were present. A high powered Indian business delegation, among them Ratan Tata and Deepak Parekh, were also witness to the grand cermony besides External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.