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PM to meet Zardari, Jiabao on US visit

Manmohan Singh will meet Pak President Asif Ali Zardari during his visit to the US that will see India pitchfork issues ranging from terrorism to expansion of UNSC.

world Updated: Sep 23, 2008 11:10 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets the new Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in New York on Wednesday as part of his high-level diplomatic engagements during his visit to the US that will see India pitchfork issues ranging from terrorism to expansion of UN Security Council.

The prime minister, who will be addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) after a gap of two years ,is also due to meet US President George W Bush and his Chinese and British counterparts, Wen Jiabao, and Gordon Brown, for talks on bilateral, regional and international issues.

Singh's meetings with world leaders on the sidelines of the 62nd session of UNGA in a packed schedule are the first after India secured the crucial NSG waiver that brought the country back into nuclear mainstream 34 years after the Pokhran explosions.

The prime minister, who flew in last evening to begin his five-day visit to the US, will kick off his parleys with a meeting with Wen followed by a meeting with the President of the World Bank Robert Zoellick.

Singh is due to meet Bush on Thursday evening at the Oval office in Washington and will be hosted a working dinner at the Old Family Dining room at the White House.

The meeting takes place amid growing uncertainty over whether the US Congress will greenlight the 123 Agreement in the last lap of the tortuous journey of the Indo-US nuclear deal to coincide with Singh's working visit to Washington.

Singh meets Zardari in the evening at the UN Headquarters amid indications that issues relating to rise in cross-border terrorism and ceasefire violations will be vigorously addressed by India. Indian officials ahead of this meeting have indicated that New Delhi expects Zardari to spell out measures to check cross-border terrorism.

The Wen-Singh parleys are expected to touch upon the progress in resolving the vexed border question in the context of the latest round of talks in Beijing. New Delhi has said that there are still gaps in the framework for a solution mooted by the two countries and that attempts were being made to narrow down the differences.

The perceived negative role of China at the NSG meeting in forging a consensus to grant India-specific waiver is unlikely to cast its shadow at the meeting.

In between his diplomatic engagements, Singh will address a CEOs lunch hosted by Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen.

Singh is also slated to meet the Republican Presidential candidate John McCain tomorrow.

On Thursday, the prime minister will attend the Millenium Development Goal meeting at the UN. A meeting with Netherlands Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has also been planned on that day.

The prime minister's engagements on Friday are his address to the UNGA besides meetings with Brown, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba. On the same day, he will have a restricted meeting with few prominent members of the Indian community.

Singh will attend a reception hosted by Ambassador Ronen Sen to wind up his visit before leaving for Marseilles in France to attend the Indo-European Union Summit.