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Nuke deal on, Obama to visit India next year

Last updated on: November 24, 2009 23:43 IST

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday said he will visit India next year after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh extended a "gracious invitation" to him.

"India today is a rising and responsible global power. So I believe that the relationship between the United States and India will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century," Obama said at a joint press conference with the Indian leader after their delegation-level and one-on-one talks at the White House.

Describing 77-year-old Dr Singh as a 'wise leader' and a 'man of honesty and integrity', the US President said, "I have happily accepted his gracious invitation to visit India next year."

Dr Singh's trip, the first state visit of Obama Administration, "reflects our admiration for the prime minister's leadership, the deep bonds between the peoples of the United States and India, and the historic opportunity we have to strengthen and broaden the partnership between our nations," Obama said.

This visit underscores the strengthening of that partnership, which he hopes will continue throughout his presidency, the 48-year-old leader said.

President Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reaffirmed their "full and complete" commitment to implementation of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

Dr Singh said that the President had reaffirmed that it is the common resolve of the two countries to implement the nuclear deal as early as possible.

"It is only a question of 'i's and 't's to be crossed. I am confident and I have the assurance of the President that this process will be over without much further loss of time," Dr Singh said.

Obama also said terrorism should be eradicated from that region which had seen a lot of violence and extremism and that both the countries should actively cooperate in counter-intelligence to prevent Mumbai-type attacks.

With the first anniversary of the 26/11 attacks just two days away, he said, "the American people join our Indian friends in remembering the horrific attacks in Mumbai one year ago this week."

"To prevent future attacks, we agreed that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies will work even closer, including sharing more information," the President said.

Dr Singh said it was important for the international community to sustain its engagement in Afghanistan to help its emergence as a modern state.

"The forces of terrorism in our region pose a grave threat to the entire civilised world and have to be defeated. President Obama and I have decided to strengthen our cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism," he said.

Replying to a question, Obama said obviously there have been a history of conflicts between India and Pakistan and it was not for the US to try to resolve them from outside.

"We will encourage ways in which India and Pakistan will feel secure and work for peace and development of their people," he said.

Referring to bilateral cooperation, the prime minister said both the sides have agreed on an early and full implementation of nuclear deal.

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