New Delhi, Sept 22 : Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today said he would draw the world community's attention to the need for reform of the UN and to address global challenges such as the food and energy crises, terrorism and progress on the Millennium Development Goals with world leaders during his visit to the United States and France.
"I will draw the world community's attention to the need for the reform of international institutions, including of the United Nations, and to address global challenges such as the food and energy crises, terrorism and progress on the Millennium Development Goals," Dr. Singh said in his departure statement.
The Prime Minister, who is leaving this afternoon on a ten-day visit to the United States and France, will address the 63rd Session of UN General Assembly on September 26.
"India has consistently attached importance to the central role of the UN in promoting global peace, stability and development. I look forward to addressing the UN General Assembly and attending the UN High Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals. I will use the opportunity to articulate India's conviction that the contemporary challenges of our times are best addressed through collective and multilateral approaches," he said.
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 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.
"I look forward to my discussions with him on the entire range of issues on our bilateral agenda with the United States, including our civil nuclear initiative," he said. 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.
"I also look forward to bilateral meetings with some of the visiting leaders, including of China, Italy, Namibia, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom. I also plan to meet a group of US CEOs, and members of the Indian-American community, both of whom have contributed to the consolidation of relations between India and the United States," he said.
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 framework agreement to start nuclear commerce between the two countries. The agreement is likely to be signed in his presence on September 30.
"India's relations with France are longstanding and of strategic importance. I am confident that my visit will lead to the further consolidation of our relations in the areas of trade and investment, defence, space, civil nuclear cooperation and high technology," he said.
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.
"The European Union is our largest trading partner with whom we enjoy a multi-faceted strategic partnership. India and Europe are bound by the common values of democracy and pluralism. We have diverse areas of cooperation, including in the area of counter-terrorism, which I will seek to strengthen," the Prime Minister added. By Naveen Kapoor