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PM-Obama meet: Nuke deal, Pak, terrorism to top agenda

world Updated: Nov 23, 2009 09:34 IST

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Implementation of the landmark civil nuclear deal, the situation in Pakistan and terrorism emanating from there would be high on the agenda as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama meet in Washington on Tuesday for talks during which they are expected to give a major push to the Indo-US strategic ties.

The two countries will sign a number of pacts, including an MoU on Counter-Terrorism to provide a legal framework for stepped up cooperation against the menace, and discuss the problem of climate change ahead of the Copenhagen Summit.

Singh, the first foreign leader to be hosted by the 10-month-old Obama Administration as the State Guest, arrived here yesterday on a four-day visit during which he will address the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Joint Business Forum besides meeting Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Speaker of House of Representatives Nancy Pellosi and a host of other senior leaders.

Singh and Obama will hold talks at the White House tomorrow when the two leaders are expected to exchange views on a range of issues, including terrorism, situation in the region, climate change, economic and business ties, agriculture and education.

The Prime Minister is expected to register India's concerns over diversion of US aid by Pakistan and press for ensuring accountability to prevent misuse of funds and equipment, sources said.

Singh is also expected to convey India's disappointment over non-cooperation by Pakistan in Mumbai attacks, whose first anniversary is just three days away.

In this regard, the Indian side is likely to point out that the trial against seven arrested people is still to begin in the heinous crimes in which over 180 people, including some American nationals, were killed.

Singh is expected to highlight that terror infrastructure in Pakistan was still intact and the threat of more attacks like 26/11 persisted.

New Delhi wants Washington to pressurise Pakistan to do more on bringing the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks to justice and dismantle terror infrastructure completely.

With regard to the implementation of the civil nuclear deal inked last year, officials of the two countries are racing against time to conclude negotiations on setting up of Dedicated Reprocessing Facility in India.

For implementation of the nuclear deal, it is a key step along with enactment of a legislation on Liabilities and an assurance from India on non-proliferation, which is required for the US government to give licences to companies for trade with India.

Sources said the deal was in the "last stretch," with the negotiations on reprocessing being in the "penultimate stage".

The two sides are hoping to finalise the reprocessing arrangements by the time Singh and Obama meet.

With regard to the Liabilities Bill, it has been cleared by the Cabinet and will be introduced in Parliament soon, the sources said.

India will also provide assurance on non-proliferation required by the US Energy Department to give licences under Section 810.