India-US partnership is essential: Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Nov 21 ( Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday said India is looking forward to building on the strategic dialogue with the US and seeking greater cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, services, energy, science and technology and defence.

“The last several years have witnessed a transformation in India-US relations. Today, they are characterized by greater maturity, depth and convergence of interests,” Manmohan Singh said in his departure statement before his four-day trip to Washington as the first state guest of the Obama White House.

“The United States is our largest trading partner in goods and services, and we have deep economic ties. There is a large Indian American community and robust people-to-people exchanges. Above all, we share common values and commitment to democracy, pluralism and human rights,” he said.

“A sustained and dynamic India-US partnership is essential if we are to meet the global challenges of the 21st century.”

During his visit, the prime minister said, he would exchange views with President Obama on major global threats and challenges including international terrorism, climate change, the global economic slowdown, the Doha round of trade negotiations, and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Manmohan Singh and Obama are expected to firm up a global partnership on issues ranging from giving an institutional framework to their counter-terror cooperation and curbing greenhouse gas emissions to wrapping up the remaining steps of the nuclear deal and the multibillion-dollar defence contracts.

After his visit to the US, the prime minister will travel to Port of Spain to attend the meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government.

“This is the 60th anniversary year of the Commonwealth. We attach high importance to the role of the Commonwealth in promoting cooperation amongst its members and in engaging the world in shaping a cooperative, equitable and development-friendly world order,” he said.

The theme for CHOGM-2009 is ‘Partnering for a More Equitable and Sustainable Future’.