Manmohan Singh leaves for New York today

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New Delhi, Sept 21 : Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is leaving on a ten-day visit to the United States and France this morning. During the visit the Prime Minister will address the UN General Assembly on September 26.

According to sources, the Prime Minister will take up the expansion and reforms in the UN Security Council so that the world body reflects the current global realities.

He is also expected to take up the issues of global food crises, combating terrorism, promoting disarmament, climate change and the turbulence in US financial market and its impact on global financial institutions with world leaders on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Dr. Singh is scheduled to make a speech on the Millennium Development Goals on September 25. Following an invitation from U.S. President George W Bush, the same day he will arrive in the Washington DC from New York to meet him in the White House Oval Office. The Prime Minister will return to New York the same night.

During their meeting, the two leaders may sign the Indo-US nuclear deal if the US Congress approves the agreement by then. The Bush Administration is pushing hard to wrap up the landmark deal before the Congress ends its current session on September 26.

Besides attending an Indian community reception, Dr. Singh will have a few a few bilateral meetings, including one with President Zardari of Pakistan and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabo during his stay in New York.

Cross border terrorism and violations of cease-fire on the Line of Control by Pakistani forces will be high on the agenda with Zardari.

After the first leg of his visit to the United States, Dr. Singh will leave for France on September 27 to attend the Indo-European Summit at Marseilles on September 29 and hold a meeting with the French President Nicolas Sarkozy. India and France are working towards signing a frame work agreement to start nuclear commerce between the two countries.

The agreement will be signed during Dr. Singh''s visit to Paris on September 30.

The India-European Summit will discuss the issue and revised joint action plan adopted in 2006 to strengthen the partnership. The Summit will also deliberate on a joint working programme on energy and climate change.

ANI

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