Obama to meet PM Manmohan Singh in September

Last Updated: Wed, Aug 21, 2013 04:08 hrs

Washington: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet with US President Barack Obama at the White House next month, where the two leaders will chart a course seeking enhanced bilateral ties and defence cooperation between the two countries, US officials have said.

Singh will visit the White House on September 27.

The announcement of his visit came as renewed tensions along the Kashmir border threaten to sabotage efforts by India and Pakistan to improve bilateral ties.

National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon yesterday met his US counterpart Susan Rice, and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel to prepare for the "working visit" of the Prime Minister.

"This meeting follows the Prime Minister's visit to Washington in 2009, and the President's visit to India in 2010, and it will highlight India's role in regional security and stability and provide an opportunity for the two leaders to chart a course toward enhanced trade, investment, and development cooperation between the United States and India," National Security Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden, said after the meeting.

"It's a working visit. It's a short visit. But I think, in terms of the substance, it is going to be a good visit," Menon said adding that the Prime Minister's meeting will be followed by lunch.

Rest of the logistics of the trip is still being worked out, he added.

At the White House, Rice told Menon that Obama was looking forward to his meeting with the Prime Minister.

"Noting our growing bilateral ties with India, Ambassador Rice said that the President was looking forward to welcoming Prime Minister Singh to the White House on Friday, September 27," Hayden said.

Menon is believed to have briefed Hagel on the what is now being called as Carter-Menon initiative and the progress made so far in taking the India-US defence relationship to the next level.

"During the PM's visit we would certainly tell you how far we got and what we expect. It could be (path breaking), Menon said."

It is still a work in progress. But it is significant. The basic idea behind it is to move from a buyer seller situation to actually co-developing, co-producing various defence acquisitions.

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