Manmohan, Obama discuss first India-US strategic dialogue

New Delhi, May 28 (Calcutta Tube) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday discussed with US President Barack Obama the maiden strategic dialogue between India and the US in Washington next week, and added that a warm welcome awaited him when he visits New Delhi later this year.

‘The prime minister spoke this evening with US President Barack Obama,’ the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

‘Both sides attach great priority to the dialogue as a means to strengthen bilateral engagement on a wide range of issues,’ said the PMO.

The inaugural ministerial-level strategic dialogue between External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton June 2-3 will cover a wide gamut of areas, including high technology trade, science & technology, civil nuclear cooperation, agriculture, human resource development, security and other strategic issues.

‘The two leaders took the opportunity to discuss regional and global issues of mutual interest,’ the PMO said. Issues relating to Afghanistan-Pakistan region also figured in the talks, said reliable sources.

Obama, on his part, conveyed condolences on the loss of lives resulting from the air crash in Mangalore last week.

Manmohan Singh told Obama that a warm welcome awaited the president and his family when they visit India, which is likely to take place in November this year.

Obama’s new National Security Strategy reaffirmed ‘building a strategic partnership’ with India as ‘one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century’.

The telephonic conversation took place days after US Under Secretary for Political Affairs William Burns and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao held discussions here to firm up the agenda for the strategic dialogue.

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Rao will accompany Krishna to Washington.

Hillary Clinton had announced the dialogue during her visit to India in July last year.

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