New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh left for the US Wednesday, saying he will be meeting his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York on Sep 29 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), setting at rest speculations about the meeting. Before that he meets President Barack Obama on Sep 27 in Washington.
In his departure statement before embarking on a five-day visit to the US, Prime Minister Singh said his summit meeting with Pesident Obama would be an opportunity to review bilateral cooperation and chart a course for future cooperation.
The Manmohan-Sharif meeting is expected to be held on Sep 29 on the sidelines of the UNGA. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will also be meeting Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in New York.
In his departure statement, the prime minister said India-US ties "which is one of our most important relationships, has transformed into a global strategic partnership".
Referring to the "intensive high-level bilateral visits", including to India by US Vice President Joe Biden and US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this year, he said they reflect "the strong momentum of our engagement". India and the US have "registered impressive progress in our cooperation across the full spectrum of the relationship", the prime minister said.
India views the US as "a long-term partner in our development efforts, and in fostering a global environment that is conducive to our growth".
"For India, the US remains a key source of technology, investment, innovation and resources, and one of the most important destinations for our goods and services. We have productive and deepening partnerships in trade and investment, defence, counter-terrorism, intelligence, internal security, cyber security, civil nuclear energy, environment, health, higher education, space, science and technology and culture. People-to-people contacts are a strong feature of our engagement. We have also launched development partnership in third countries.
He said he also looks forward "to discussing a broad range of global and regional developments, and how we can work together to advance our shared interests".
In his address to the UNGA on Sep 28, the prime minister said he would "emphasize the importance of maintaining poverty eradication and inclusive development at the core of the post-2015 development agenda".
"The Sustainable Development Goals that are expected to be drawn up as part of the follow-up to the Rio+20 Conference should ensure a holistic approach to sustainable development objectives, ensuring a balanced treatment of its economic, social and environmental dimensions as well as universal applicability".
The prime minister said he would also convey India's "strong conviction that global challenges are best addressed through multilateral approaches, with the United Nations at its centre".
India would also press for early reform of institutions of global political and economic governance, particularly the United Nations Security Council, he said.
During my visit to New York, I also look forward to bilateral meetings with the leaders of some of our neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan, he said.