Obama for ''true global, strategic partnership'' with India

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Lalit K Jha

Washington, Jan 30 (PTI) US President Barack Obama hasvowed to build a "true global, strategic partnership" withIndia and stressed on advancing bilateral economic ties andmaking progress on nuclear security efforts, as he dropped induring key talks between National Security Adviser ShivshankarMenon and his counterpart Tom Donilon.

"The President joined the meeting (between Menon andDonilon) and reaffirmed his commitment to building a trueglobal, strategic partnership with India," the White Housesaid in a statement after the talks yesterday.

Obama is believed to have been present at theMenon-Donilon meeting at the White House for about 15 minutesduring which he clearly reflected that he remained focused onstrengthening the relationship between India and the US.

"The President relayed his priorities for the comingyear, including advancing our bilateral economic relationshipand making progress on nuclear security efforts," the WhiteHouse said.

On a day when Obama was busy with the unfoldingdevelopments in Egypt, his joining of the Menon-Donilonmeeting at the White House reflects the importance he attachedto the India-US relationship.

In another special gesture, Secretary of State HillaryClinton on Friday hosted a lunch for Menon, who is here at theinvitation of Donilon to follow-up on the outcomes of Obamaand Prime Minister Manmohan Singh''s Summit in India inNovember last year.

Clinton, who re-scheduled her meetings for the luncheon,had initially scheduled a dinner for Menon on Thursday, whichwas cancelled because of the late arrival of the NSA due tothe major snow storm in the region.

"Mr Donilon and Mr Menon discussed ways to advance ourbilateral agenda over the coming year, including theimplementation of initiatives launched during the Summit, aswell as building new platforms for collaboration that fulfillthe promise of our global strategic partnership," the WhiteHouse said.

It said the two also had "candid, in-depth discussions onregional and global issues of mutual concern".

Apart from reviewing the implementation of initiativeslaunched during the India visit of Obama in November, Menon ishere to discuss developments in bilateral relationship inpreparation for the Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi in April.

Clinton will lead a high-level US delegation at the dialogue.

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