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Updated: November 21, 2009 14:15 IST

Manmohan Singh leaves for the US

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We share common values and commitment to democracy, pluralism and human rights, says the prime minister.
We share common values and commitment to democracy, pluralism and human rights, says the prime minister.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to hold talks with the U.S. President Barack Obama on terrorism, climate change, the global economic slowdown, besides nuclear non-proliferation.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh left for Washington on Saturday for talks with President Barack

Obama, saying India attaches “high priority” to its relations with the US and a “sustained and dynamic” partnership between them is essential to meet major global challenges like terrorism, climate change and economic slowdown.

Dr. Singh, who will meet Mr. Obama on Tuesday, said India's relations with the U.S. is today characterized by “greater maturity, depth and convergence of interests”.

In a departure statement, Dr. Singh said he looked forward to building upon this momentum during the nine-day visit that would also take him to Trinidad and Tobago for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

“The last several years have witnessed a transformation in India-U.S. relations”, he said.

Dr. Singh, the first foreign leader to be hosted as State Guest by the 10-month-old Obama Administration, has a hectic schedule during his four-day stay in Washington.

His engagements include addressing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and business leaders of the two countries besides receiving some top U.S. officials.

“A sustained and dynamic India-U.S. partnership is essential if we are to meet the global challenges of the 21 century”, Dr. Singh said.

The Prime Minister said he looked forward to exchanging views with Mr. Obama on major global threats and challenges such as international terrorism, climate change, global economic slowdown, the Doha Round of trade negotiations and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

The situation in Afghanistan and other regional issues are also expected to figure during his talks with the U.S. leadership, the Prime Minister said.

Terrorism emanating from Pakistan is expected to be high on agenda of the Singh-Obama talks.

The two sides are likely to sign an MoU on counter-terrorism that will provide a framework for institutionalised cooperation particularly in intelligence sharing, sources said.

The two countries are also expected to ink MoUs in renewable energy, IPR in agriculture and announce Singh-Obama Knowledge Initiative.

Certain issues that are holding up implementation of the landmark civil nuclear agreement may take some more time though officials from the two countries are trying to iron out the creases before the two leaders meet.

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said both the governments are fully committed to implementing the historic pact which offers immense benefits for India and opens business opportunities for the U.S.

At the bilateral levels, India looked forward to building upon the Strategic Dialogue by adding greater substance to cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, services, energy, science and technology, defence, high technology trade, education, agriculture and health, he said.

Dr. Singh is accompanied by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

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