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Highest importance to US partnership: PM

July 16, 2005 14:35 IST

Observing that India attaches the "highest importance" to strengthening its strategic partnership with the United States, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said he looked forward to a "comprehensive" review of bilateral relations during his meetings with President George W Bush.

Singh, who left for Washington on a three-day visit this morning, said some of the initiatives under consideration included enhancing the content of the Indo-US economic and energy dialogues.

Global initiatives on democracy, combating HIV/ AIDS and agricultural education and research are also on the anvil.

"We hope to strengthen our relations in the field of science and technology and hope to enhance the content of our interactions in the field of space and civilian nuclear energy cooperation," the prime minister said.

He was seen off at his Race Course residence by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and several union ministers, including Pranab Mukherjee, Shivraj Patil, Arjun Singh, Lalu Prasad, Ghulam Nabi Azad and S Jaipal Reddy.

The US Charge d' Affaires Robert Clarke was also present to wish Singh bon voyage.

Singh said, "India attaches the highest importance to further developing and strengthening the strategic partnership with the US, both in the bilateral context as well as to strengthen our partnership to meet global challenges. As the world's two largest democracies, we have common values and interests."

Describing the US as India's largest trading partner, he said accelerated economic cooperation relating to trade, investment and technology was a primary objective.

Singh said he also looked forward to meetings with Vice President Dick Cheney and senior members of the US Cabinet during his stay in Washington.

After a ceremonial welcome at the White House on Monday, Singh, who is on his first visit to Washington after assuming office last year, will hold wide-ranging discussions with Bush on the whole gamut of bilateral issues besides exchanging perceptions on regional and international issues of mutual concern.


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