Toronto: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama on Sunday held their second substantive dialogue in two months, during which they are understood to have discussed terrorism, global economy and other issues of mutual concern.
Singh and Obama met on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Toronto and are believed to have discussed the situation in the region.
This was the first meeting between the two leaders after they met and reviewed bilateral ties on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in April.
Ahead of the meeting, Obama told reporters: “Whenever the Indian Prime Minister speaks, the whole world listens to him.”
During the meeting, the two leaders are also understood to have discussed about the global economic recovery and the G-20 Summit. At the Summit, India and the US had cautioned against winding up of the government funding.
Barack Obama on Sunday said he was “very much” looking forward to his visit to India in November as he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discussed the entire gamut of bilateral ties.
Welcoming Singh, Obama, who is scheduled to visit India in November, called him a “good friend” and said he continues to believe that the extraordinary leadership that the Indian Prime Minister has provided not just to his country, but to the world, has helped “us navigate through some very difficult times.”
In his opening remarks, the US President said he was very pleased to have accepted an invitation to visit India.
“It is a trip that I’m very much looking forward to, and I know that the Prime Minister and his gracious wife will extend great hospitality to us.
“We are also just excited because of the tremendous cultural, as well as political and social and economic examples that India is providing the world and has in the past,” he said.
“Thank you so much for your friendship, and we look forward to working with you in the months to come, leading up to the visit, so that we know that we’re going to have a very productive stay when we’re in India,” Obama said.
Heaping praises on Singh, Obama said at the G-20 Summit when the Prime Minister speaks people listen, particularly because of his deep knowledge of economic issues.
“As well as the fact that he understands that as India rises as a world power, not just a regional power, that it also has enormous responsibilities to work with the rest of the world community around issues of peace and prosperity,” he said.
In his remarks, Singh said it was the common endeavour of both leaders to give the Indo-US strategic partnership a new trust, new meaning and new content.
Singh said he has every reason to believe that Obama will find it a productive and exciting journey to “a country of India’s diversity, of India’s complexity.”
He said the two countries are engaged in getting rid of chronic poverty, ignorance and disease, which still afflict millions and millions of people.
“And it’s our common desire to work together to get rid of this scourge in our lifetime. And in that, the United States’ support means a great deal to us. Your personal commitment to social justice is something we cherish,” he said.
The Prime Minister said a “very warm welcome” awaits Obama, the First Lady Michelle and their children when they visit India.
He said during the visit, Obama can see for himself what India is trying to do, the difficulties of managing social and economic transformation in the framework of a democracy committed to the rule of law, committed to all fundamental human freedoms.
“I think that’s what India seeks to achieve,” he said.
Obama also recalled the State Visit of Singh in November, when the two leaders decided to launch a Strategic Dialogue between the two countries.
“…we instituted what we termed a strategic partnership that involves all of our ministers at the highest levels working together to try to find ways to enhance commercial ties, security ties, coordination on critical multilateral issues like climate change,” he said.
“And as a consequence, (External Affairs) Minister S M Krishna led a delegation to Washington to follow up, and working with Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton, conducted some very high-level talks. I had the opportunity to participate in that dialogue,” the US President said.
Obama said the two countries would continue to see how businesses of both countries can get to work together and then generating recommendations to “each of us in terms of how we can improve ties between the United States and India.”