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N-deal, more on Bush's mind

Apart from science, biotech, the US President may also be treated to a show on Bollywood, reports Jay Raina.

india Updated: Feb 10, 2006 14:11 IST
Jay Raina
Jay Raina

India is looking forward to US President George W Bush's visit as a "landmark engagement" that's set to deepen friendly ties between the two countries.

And unlike popular perception that the civilian nuclear deal will be the dominant subject, enhanced cooperation in science and technology and biotechnology will also be a big part of the scheme of things.

As per the President's itinerary, currently being given final touches, he will reach New Delhi on the evening of March 1 and leave on the morning of March 4.

Bush will spend all of March 2 in Delhi, where he will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and attend a state banquet at Rashtrapati Bhavan in the evening. This may be preceded by lunch hosted by the PM at Hyderabad House.

Bush will leave for Hyderabad the next day, where he will visit the Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University, several IT and biotechnology institutions.

According to PMO sources, too much is being made of the nuclear deal, as if it were the single agenda during the US President's visit.

They say the two leaders have agreed to review progress on the deal but don't envisage clinching of the final agreement during Bush's stay.

"If it happens, well and good. But that doesn't take away from the significance of the US President's visit."

The sources claim that there could be minor differences over the finality of the deal even as efforts are on to narrow down irritants.

Given India's sluggish agricultural growth, New Delhi is keen to seek US support by way of enhanced collaboration to kickstart the PM's vision of ushering in a second green revolution. Hence, the visit to the agriculture university.

Similarly, despite India being a huge tech manpower hub, the exchange of professionals in high-tech scientific fields between the two countries is estimated to be low in comparison to US-China exchanges.

"President Bush's Hyderabad visit is primarily aimed at showcasing India's advances in bio-technology and agri-technology, which need to be harnessed through advanced inputs from the US," they explain.

Bush and Singh are also set to reiterate their commitment to working together to combat terrorism and strengthen global partnership for the creation of an international environment conducive to the promotion of democratic values.

A senior PMO official told HT, efforts were also on to focus attention on cultural exchanges. If time permits, the President may be treated to a show on Bollywood.

First Published: Feb 10, 2006 14:11 IST