Manmohan Singh gets US assurances on terrorism, n-deal, China

Washington, Nov 26 ( Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrapped up a “very productive” state visit to the US with assurances of support from President Barack Obama on countering terrorism emanating from Pakistan, early completion of their landmark civil nuclear deal and allaying of concerns over Chinese role in South Asia.

A day after he held wide-ranging discussions with Obama to forge a “defining partnership of the 21st century”, Manmohan Singh told the media Wednesday he was confident that India and the US will “not only continue but strengthen the momentum of relations built up over the past few years”.

At his first summit talks with Obama, Manmohan said they had agreed on the early and full implementation of their landmark civil nuclear deal.

There were a “few minor problems” relating to an agreement on reprocessing of nuclear fuel, he said, adding: “I am confident that we can sort out these things in the next few weeks.”

Obama recognised the important role India-US relations can play in meeting the global challenges of the 21st century, he said: “We agreed that there is a historic opportunity for India and the United States to work together for world peace and stability on the basis of our shared values, consensus and cooperation.”

Terrorism and the situation in Pakistan dominated the discussions with the two countries signing a pact on counter-terror cooperation to advance global security.

Manmohan Singh expressed appreciation for the US’ support over investigations into the Mumbai attacks and its diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage to justice.

“Obama was very conscious and aware of the threats both our countries face from terrorism, and the need for us to work together to combat it,” he said. “We have agreed to strengthen cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism.”

On China, Obama assured him that a reference to South Asia in the joint statement issued after his visit to China last week “does not mean that third powers should interfere in the affairs of South Asia”. He was “satisfied” on this count.

The prime minister said he had discussed several ideas on how “we can work together to accelerate global economic recovery and put it on a more sustainable and balanced path in the future”.

Welcoming Obama’s strong commitment to ensuring a comprehensive and balanced outcome at the climate change meeting in Copenhagen, he said: “We have agreed to work together bilaterally and with all other countries to ensure this outcome.”

India and US, he said, had “established a framework for taking our relations forward”, stressing priorities for future collaboration in agriculture, education, health, clean energy and energy security, defence, science and technology.

Referring to his “very good interaction with American business leaders”, Manmohan Singh said they showed keenness to expand business with India. He in turn reaffirmed to them New Delhi’s commitment to facilitate foreign investment in India and to pursue key reform measures.