PM asserts Indo-US relations have beocme genuinely strategic

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Toyako, Japan, Jul 9 (UNI) Ahead of the Left parties' formal withdrawal of support to his government today, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India's relationship with the US ''has truly acquired the characteristic of a genuine strategic partnership'' and the countries have made progress in nuclear, defence and space cooperation.

The 59 bloc of Left MPs is scheduled to meet President Pratibha Patil today to submit a letter withdrawing support to the Congress-led UPA government they have supported for four years of its five-year term.

The Left parties have withdrawn support accusing the government of not providing them with draft of the safeguards agreement India has reached with the Vienna-based nuclear watchdog IAEA.

A relaxed and confident Prime Minister, after his meeting with US president George Bush here today, told media, ''We have made progress in all areas, including nuclear, defence and space cooperation, and educational exchanges.'' Flanked by Mr Bush, after emerging from the meeting with him in Hotel Windsor, Dr Singh said, ''I am very pleased with the state of our relationship, which has truly acquired the characteristic of a genuine strategic partnership.'' Recalling his first meeting with Mr Bush when the two leaders issued the joint statement on the civil nuclear agreement in Washington on July 18, 2005, Dr Singh said, ''I am very happy to report to President Bush that our relations have moved forward handsomely since our first meeting in July 2005.'' President Bush told media, ''We talked about the Indo-US nuclear deal, and how important that is for our respective countries.'' ''Describing his bilateral talks with Dr Singh ''a really good meeting amongst two friends,'' he congratulated the Prime Minister for his ''leadership at home''.

He said he also reminded the Prime Minister that the Indian-American population was very proud of the Indo-US relationship, their heritage and the leadership of Dr Singh.

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