London, Apr 3: The much-awaited meeting between US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh took place here on Thursday, Apr 2 on the sidelines of the second Group of 20 (G-20) leaders summit, and at the end of it, both leaders pitched for improved and enhanced bilateral ties.
Both leaders met for about 45-minutes with key aides and used the occasion to highlight each other's leadership skills and contribution to national and international developments.
President Obama told Prime Minister Singh that the United States sees India: "US sees India as a global power and a critical partner in helping to deal with the challenges of 21st century such as in climate change, trade, science and innovation."
Obama further said : "Much of the growth and rise of India can be attributed to the wisdom of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh."
Acknowledging Dr Singh's leadership in unleashing India's economic prowess, President Obama said: " I express my admiration for Prime Minister Singh. I am grateful for the opportunity I had at the summit to have met the Prime Minister Singh. I hope by the time the summit is over I can call him my friend. I hope to visit India in near future"
In his response, Dr Singh said: "Mr Obama there is enormous admiration and respect for what you stand for. You are a ray of hope in countries such as ours and indeed the world. Under your distinguished leadership in India-U.S relationship will grow further."
He further described the United States and India as: "We are two democracies which believe in the rule of law. We are two civil societies. There is hardly any middle class family in India that doesn't have a son or a daughter, brother or a sister studying in the US. This itself is a very important link. We want to further strengthen the India-US relations."
"Under your leadership, we will chart out a new path in dealing with economic issues, climate change, challenges from terror, and how to make the world safe of terror. We will work together in bi-lateral and multi-lateral fora," Dr Singh added.
At a personal level, Dr Singh informed President Obama about a conversation that he had had with his daughter.
When he told his daughter that he would be meeting with Obama, his (Dr Singh's) daughter said: "I would cherish if you could get Mr Obama to autograph the book."
Dr Singh told President Obama: "The people of India look forward to your visit to our country and a very warm welcome awaits you, yours wife and daughters."
Among those who attended Thursday, Apr 2 bilateral interaction were US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, US National Security Advisor James Jones, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and from the Indian side Deputy Planning Commission Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, National Security Adviser M K Naryanan, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and others.