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PM to discuss nuclear deal with Bush during US visit
September 22, 2008 11:15 IST
Last Updated: September 22, 2008 12:42 IST
With the Bush administration pushing hard to get the Congressional nod for the India-United States nuclear deal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Monday said that he was looking forward to discussions on the entire range of bilateral issues, including the civil nuclear initiative.
"I look forward to my discussions with him (US President George W Bush [Images]) on the entire range of issues on our bilateral agenda with the United States, including our civil nuclear initiative," he said before embarking on a 10-day visit to the US and France [Images].
He said in recent years Indo-US relations have expanded significantly in areas of mutual interest such as education, trade, business, technology, energy and agriculture.
"The engagement between the two countries has strengthened and we are pursuing the multi-faceted cooperation to our mutual benefit," he said.
With just few working days left for the US Congress to take a call on the 123 agreement to clear the decks for the nuke deal, the White House is optimistic of wrapping up the pact during Singh's working visit to Washington on September 25 for a meeting with Bush.
Singh's first diplomatic engagement abroad after the crucial waiver that ended the country's 34-year nuclear isolation may also see India and France firm up an agreement on civil nuclear energy cooperation after summit talks with President Nicholas Sarkozy in Paris on September 30.
Singh, who would be attending the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, said he will be holding bilateral talks with world leaders, including China, Italy [Images], Namibia, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.
The prime minister is expected to firmly convey India's strong concerns over cross-border terrorism and remind Pakistan about its commitments in this regard at his meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari who has just spoken about the need for bilateral ties to be 'creatively reinvented'.
A meeting with Chinese premier Wen Jiabao has also been scheduled during which the two leaders are expected to put behind the strains in bilateral relations following Beijing's [Images] perceived negative role at the Nuclear Suppliers Group meet in Vienna [Images].
The Prime Minister said he will be drawing the attention of the leaders to the need for the reform of international institutions, including the UN and to address global challenges such as the food and energy crises, terrorism and the progress on the Millennium Development Goals.
Singh, who is being accompanied by a high-level delegation, including Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, will address the Indian community in New York on September 27 before leaving for Marseilles.
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