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Updated: October 3, 2009 20:46 IST

Obama to host Manmohan on November 24

Special Correspondent
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a national convention in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: PTI
PTI Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a national convention in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: PTI

U.S. President Barack Obama will host Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the White House on November 24, according to a statement by the Press Secretary to the U.S. President. Dr. Singh will thus have the rare privilege of having his first interaction at the White House with two successive U.S. Presidents designated as a state visit.

“[This visit] will highlight the strong and growing strategic partnership between the U.S. and India, and the friendship between the American and Indian people,” added the statement

During the visit, the two leaders are expected to discuss a range of global, regional, and bilateral issues of shared interest and common concern. The two leaders will also discuss the strategic dialogue that was launched in July and review the progress made in the dialogue.

The U.S. President and his wife also host Dr. Singh and Mrs. Kaur for an official state dinner on the night of November 24.

The White House said Mr. Obama was looking forward to welcoming Dr. Singh to Washington and working with him to strengthen and enhance the Indo-U.S. partnership.

The two leaders will meet after senior officials from both sides would have reviewed the progress made in the areas identified for closer cooperation during U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to India this year. Also India and the U.S. would have understood each other’s approach on enrichment and reprocessing and concluded the high level Defence Policy Group meeting. Progress would have been made in the trade policy; economic and finance policy and CEO fora. Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia is overseeing the energy dialogue and both sides have taken tentative steps to reengage more closely on science and technology. Officials from both countries are also holding talks on social issues such as education and health and women’s empowerment.

Proliferation

On non-proliferation, India maintains that it has not received any signals yet from Washington and officials have hinted that the Indo-U.S. civil nuclear agreement could unravel if there was insistence on this count. On the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, New Delhi feels the Obama Administration does not have the numbers to push it through the Senate and estimates that domestic consensus in the U.S. is some way off.

On the other hand, the Pentagon sees the consensus on the language of the end user agreement as a major step forward in their defence ties but wants New Delhi to expedite the signing of another military pact. The intelligence agencies have been regularly sharing information and representatives from government departments from both countries have exchanged notes on improving the security of institutions and public services.

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