New Delhi, Sep 20: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet US President Barack Obama on Sep 27 at the White House in Washington for their third summit, during which both sides are expected to focus on a wide range of issues, including the civil nuclear deal, economic relations and Afghanistan.
Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh, in her first media briefing since assuming office in August, said the prime minister’s visit “caps a period of heightened exchanges at a high political level” and takes forward the recent momentum of bilateral visits, including of US Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden.
She said the working visit between Manmohan Singh and Obama “is intended to signal that the relationship has reached a stage of maturity. There has been positive progress recorded in a wide array of areas, through existing mechanisms that cover over 33 separate dialogue structures”.
“We expect that the summit level meeting will reaffirm political commitment to the ongoing effort on both sides to intensify our strategic partnership. It is an opportunity to underline at a high political level the strategic vision that brings our countries closer together,” said the foreign secretary.
The summit meeting is expected to focus on energy, which includes clean energy, partnership in hydrocarbons, “as well as our effort to develop our partnership in peaceful uses of nuclear energy”.
“Both sides will also review progress in implementation of the civil nuclear initiative that is a pillar of our strategic partnership,” she added.
Both India and the US will also explore ways of expanding defence ties “beyond a buyer-seller relationship to a joint partnership in design, development and production of defence material”.
India is interested in intensifying cooperation between its home ministry and the US Department of Homeland Security to “enhance capacity building, including in policing of large cities, partnerships in security technologies, combating counterfeit currency, and in securing ports, airports and land border terminals”, she added.
The foreign secretary said bilateral trade stands at $100 billion. Both sides are working to “address issues of concern on each side, in areas ranging from manufacturing, trade, investment, innovation as well as with regard to issues relating to non-immigrant visas for our highly skilled IT and ITES workers”.
India and the US have wide-ranging consultations on regional and global issues, including on East Asia, Central Asia and West Asia as well as trilateral dialogues with Afghanistan and Japan.
“We look to consolidate and build upon such dialogues, including on issues of interest in our region”.