Sandeep Dikshit

U.S. President stresses need to further cement Indo-U.S. ties

Call puts to rest fears of a chill creeping in bilateral ties

Seen as a positive signal in Indo-U.S. relations

NEW DELHI: Allaying apprehensions of a chill creeping in India-United States relationship, U.S. President Barack Obama has stressed the importance of further strengthening the close ties forged between the two countries in recent times. Mr. Obama expressed these sentiments during a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The U.S. President had called up Dr. Singh to congratulate on his being sworn in Prime Minister for a second successive term. Mr. Obama was of the opinion that the electoral verdict endorsed the policies pursued by the previous government. The two leaders also discussed cooperation between the two countries in various sectors.

The Prime Minister reiterated his invitation to Mr. Obama and his family to visit the country. While accepting the invitation because India was a priority country for the new Democrat-led U.S. administration, the U.S. President wanted Dr. Singh to pencil in an early visit to the U.S.

Speaking to The Hindu, analysts interpreted the contents of the conversation as a positive signal on the trajectory of Indo-U.S. relations, especially against the backdrop of observations by a senior U.S. official on the need for India to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the curbs on tax breaks on U.S. companies taking recourse to off-shoring. The conversation also takes place against the backdrop of an impending visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the country in July.

The visit is expected to be preceded by interactions between senior diplomats of both countries.