Press Trust of India
Frankfurt, 1 October: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today left for home after an overnight halt here while on his way back from the USA where he held talks with President Barack Obama and met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, besides addressing the UN General Assembly.
Mr Singh reached Washington on 26 September and held talks with Mr Obama the next day during which they decided to expand ties in various areas including defense, energy and trade.
“We believe that if there’s a strong India, that’s good for the world, and it’s ultimately good for the USA,” Mr Obama had said in a joint appearance with Mr Singh.
Immediately after the meeting, the two countries issued a joint declaration on defense co-operation, which brings India at par with the closest American allies like Britain.
The Prime Minister flagged India’s concerns over terrorism emanating from across the border and described Pakistan as “epicenter of terrorism”.
In a rarest of the rare gesture, Mr Obama himself walked down from the Oval Office to Mr Singh’s car to see him off.
Mr Singh reached New York on 27 September where he held a meeting with the top American CEOs.
Mr Singh in his first meeting with Mr Sharif, after the latter assumed charge as Pakistan’s Prime Minister in June, made it clear that ending ceasefire violations is a pre-condition for taking the relationship forward.
A day earlier, Mr Singh addressed the UN General Assembly wherein he raised concerns over terrorism coming from across the border. He also spoke on security council reform and reiterated that diplomacy be given a chance in resolving the crisis in Syria and Iran.
Mr Singh also held bilateral meetings with Bangladesh Prime Minsiter Sheikh Hasnia and Nepal’s interim leader Khil Raj Regmi on 28 September.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, foreign secretary Shujata Singh and other senior officials. External affairs minister Salman Khurshid, who is on a two week foreign travel, joined him in New York. Mr Khurshid now heads to Russia.