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PM's state visit to showcase strong Indo-US relationship

world Updated: Nov 20, 2009 10:23 IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Washington as Barack Obama's first state guest is expected to showcase the significance the US President attaches to Indo-US relationship, with global issues including climate and Afghanistan to feature prominently along with bilateral ties.

Obama will welcome Singh at the White House on Tuesday morning as the first State Guest of his presidency, in what senior administration officials have said is no co-incidence but a conscious decision to send a strong signal on how critical the relationship is to the United States.

Obama has identified India as a natural ally of the US and wants to take the Indo-US relationship to a new level.

The US now sees India as an "emerging power" and wants to work with it on the global front.

"We want very much to strengthen our partnership with India because we have common interest, we have common values and we think India's emergence in this manner would only be a good thing for world affairs," a senior administration official told PTI.

When the two leaders sit down at the White House next week, unlike in the past, their discussion would no longer be confined to bilateral issues, he said.

They are expected to discuss a range of regional and global issues including Af-Pak, climate, and are also likely to discuss Obama's recent trip to Asia, particularly China, besides identifying ways to deepen strategic relationship.

Given where the US position with regard to Af-Pak strategic review, it is expected that Obama and Singh would discuss Afghanistan and Pakistan and talk about stability and security in the region.

They are expected to discuss the critical issue of climate change, particularly in the run up to the Copenhagen conference happening in a few weeks.

With non-proliferation being one of the top priorities of Obama, it is likely that they would talk about nuclear non-proliferation; besides counter-terrorism efforts and what the two countries can do jointly on those efforts, the official said.

They are also expected to discuss Obama's recent trip to Asia, particularly China, given the proximity and the large interest India has with China and Indo-China relationship.

"I would expect that the President would give the Prime Minister a briefing about his impression of China and his views on China and Asia overall," the official said.

Obama and Singh are expected to hold extensive discussion on the US-India strategic dialogue launched during the visit of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to India in July.

"We have such a broad based relationship that there are a lot of issues in each of those to discuss and lot of progress to announce," the official said.

"We will be announcing progress in many areas. We have moved beyond the point of needing something big at every summit," the official said.

The strategic dialogue is based on five pillars, including strategic co-operation, energy and climate change, economics and trade, education and science and technology.

However, the administration refrains from making any comparison of this State Visit with the one during former President George W Bush's tenure in 2005.

Given that the relationship between the two countries have "really matured" since 2005 and since then there has been convergence of the Indo-US interest in the region and the world, officials now consider this as a much more broad based and solid partnership.

"What would be symbolic is the highlighting of the fact that the fundamentals that brought us together, originally still exit. This relationship is just not the legacy of one administration, or one president, it is the legacy that emerges from the people of both countries," the official said.