'Haven't been to the Taj with Michelle yet', Obama tells Modi

Last Updated: Thu, Sep 08, 2016 22:30 hrs
In Pictures: PM Narendra Modi in Laos

Vientiane: President Barack Obama on Thursday told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the US "strongly supports" India's NSG membership bid, as they discussed the immediate priorities in the strategic partnership, besides deepening the civil nuclear ties and fighting climate change.  

<p>"Had a great discussion with President of the US (POTUS) on India-USA relations," Modi tweeted after his meeting with Obama on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit here, their eighth in the past two years.  

According to a White House official, "Reaffirming the strong bonds of friendship between the United States and India, the President underscored that the United States strongly supports India's membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)." 

The US has been supporting India's bid in the 48-member elite group. In June, China had scuttled New Delhi's bid at the plenary session of NSG.  

Sources said, "President Obama praised Prime Minister Modi's initiatives to reform the Indian economy. In particular, the US President expressed confidence that the passage of GST will unleash significant economic activity."  

During the meeting, Obama lauded Modi's vision of innovation and entrepreneurship, which he said would be "very important for a country like India". Obama, according to sources, added that he would continue to be a "strong partner of India and help in any way I can." 

Both leaders discussed climate change issues and energy cooperation. They also reviewed progress on Indo-US collaboration in nuclear energy and solar energy.  

The official said, "President Obama thanked Prime Minister Modi for his cooperation on a broad range of global and bilateral issues and commended Prime Minister Modi's leadership in addressing the urgent threats posed by climate change."  

According to sources, the meeting was warm and friendly. The official added, "The leaders noted our joint commitment, fulfilled by the United States in advance of the G20 Leaders' Summit, to join the Paris Agreement this year as well as our resolve to adopt an ambitious HFC amendment to the Montreal Protocol this year."  

Modi, who praised President Obama for his contribution to the growing trust between India and the US, also invited the latter to visit India after demitting office. Obama welcomed the opportunity to visit India and added, on a lighter note, that he and his wife Michelle were yet to set their eyes on the Taj Mahal. 

Last year, Obama was forced to cancel a planned trip to the monument, cutting short his visit to India in order to travel to Saudi Arabia following King Abdullah's demise.