Obama looks forward to meeting Manmohan Singh

Washington, Sep 26 (IANS) US President Barack Obama looks forward to meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here Friday to discuss all the issues and shared objectives that the US and India have, according to the White House.

"He (Obama) very much looks forward to the meeting," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday ahead of Manmohan Singh's arrival in Washington for their third summit in four years.

"He looks forward to having a discussion about all of the issues and shared objectives that the United States and India have," Carney said without spelling out US expectations from the visit aimed at dispelling any perceptions of a drift in India-US partnership.

Manmohan Singh's Friday meeting at Obama's Oval Office at the White House will be his tenth meeting with the US leader, whom he has met seven other times at various other international fora. He was also the Obama presidency's first state visitor in Nov 2009.

Earlier, previewing Manmohan Singh's two-day working visit a senior administration official said Wednesday a series of high-level exchanges including Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry's recent visits to India and now the Prime Minister's visit to US, was not an indication of a relationship that has plateaued.

"If you look at the course of the last decade, some of the most contentious issues like defence cooperation and nuclear energy are centrepieces of the ties today," a senior administration official said in a conference call with the Indian media.

"Those are indications of a relationship, which is in active engagement stage. And that is the place where we want to keep it" the official said asserting what Obama has repeatedly called a defining partnership in the 21st century was indeed "scaling that trajectory."

The purpose of this "short working visit" is both to reflect and appreciate the decade of this transformation and the commitments of the leaders in the government to the strategic partnership, the official said.

The purpose is also to "set out a road map for the path ahead," he added.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)


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