Obama for true global, strategic partnership with India

Washington: US President Barack Obama has vowed to build a "true global, strategic partnership" with India and stressed on advancing bilateral economic ties and making progress on nuclear security efforts, as he dropped in during key talks between National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and his counterpart Tom Donilon.

"The President joined the meeting (between Menon and Donilon) and reaffirmed his commitment to building a true global, strategic partnership with India," the White House said in a statement after the talks on Saturday.

Obama is believed to have been present at the Menon-Donilon meeting at the White House for about 15 minutes during which he clearly reflected that he remained focused on strengthening the relationship between India and the US.

"The President relayed his priorities for the coming year, including advancing our bilateral economic relationship and making progress on nuclear security efforts," the White House said.

On a day when Obama was busy with the unfolding developments in Egypt, his joining of the Menon-Donilon meeting at the White House reflects the importance he attached to the India-US relationship.

In another special gesture, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday hosted a lunch for Menon, who is here at the invitation of Donilon to follow-up on the outcomes of Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s Summit in India in November last year.

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

"Mr Donilon and Mr Menon discussed ways to advance our bilateral agenda over the coming year, including the implementation of initiatives launched during the Summit, as well as building new platforms for collaboration that fulfill the promise of our global strategic partnership," the White House said.

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

Apart from reviewing the implementation of initiatives launched during the India visit of Obama in November, Menon is here to discuss developments in bilateral relationship in preparation for the Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi in April.

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

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