M A I N   N E W S

Fight against terror on PM’s US visit agenda
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today expressed confidence of strengthening the strategic relations with the US both in the context of bilateral and global fight against terrorism.

In a statement here before departing for Washington, Dr Manmohan Singh observed that “as the world’s two largest democracies, we have common values and interests.”

He said his trip to the US was an important element in establishing friendly and productive relations abroad to optimise the benefits for the country’s development coupled with “our security and foreign policy interests.”

Attaching the highest importance to strengthening ties with the US, he observed “in my meetings with President Bush I look forward to a comprehensive review of our bilateral relations.”

Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit will be closely watched in the context of India’s bid for a permanent seat in the enlarged United Nations Security Council and meeting India’s burgeoning need for energy which has now emerged as a global challenge. India’s high trajectory of economic growth and military strength has added a new dimension to its influence and growing relevance in international affairs.

Dr Manmohan Singh stressed that the US was India’s largest trading partner and the primary object of his visit to Washington pertained to accelerated economic cooperation through trade, investment and technology cooperation.

Enhancing the content of economic and energy dialogues, global initiatives on democracy and combating the scourge of AIDS/HIV coupled with agricultural education and research were some of the initiatives under consideration.

The Prime Minister hoped that Indo-US relations in science and technology, space and civilian nuclear energy would receive an added boost.

Dr Manmohan Singh is also expected to take up with his American interlocutors the issue of video and cable piracy causing huge losses to both American and Indian entertainment companies.

Meanwhile, External Affairs minister K Natwar Singh is leaving for London and New York tonight. He will join the Prime Minister’s high power delegation in Washington.

Dr Manmohan Singh will be meeting US Vice-President Dick Cheney and addressing a joint sitting of the US Congress.

Meetings have also been arranged with the Senate leadership as well as the India Caucus in the Congress. He will also address a luncheon meeting hosted by the National Press Club in Washington.

Dr Manmohan Singh, who will arrive in Washington tomorrow evening after an overnight stay in Frankfurt will return on July 22.

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