PM heads for US; to meet Obama in Washington, Nawaz Sharif in New York

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arriving at the Frankfurt International Airport, on his way to the United States, on September 25, 2013.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arriving at the Frankfurt International Airport, on his way to the United States, on September 25, 2013.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh left here today on a five-day visit to the United States, during which he will meet US President Barack Obama in Washington on Friday and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Dr Singh, who is due to address the general debate of the 68th session of the UNGA on September 28, confirmed in a pre-departure statement that he would meet Mr Sharif.
"During my visit to New York, I also look forward to bilateral meetings with the leaders of some of our neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan," he said.
Dr Singh said India saw the US as a long-term partner in its development efforts and in fostering a global environment that is conducive to its growth.
"For India, the US remains a key source of technology, investment, innovation and resources, and one of the most important destinations for our goods and services," he said in a pre-departure statement.
"We have productive and deepening partnerships in trade and investment, defence, counter-terrorism, intelligence, internal security, cyber security, civil nuclear energy, environment, health, higher education, space, science and technology and culture. People-to-people contacts are a strong feature of our engagement. We have also launched development partnership in third countries," he said.
He noted that, over the past decade, India's relationship with the United States, which is one of its most important relationships, had transformed into a global strategic partnership. 
"The intensive, high-level bilateral visits over the last few months reflect the strong momentum of our engagement. We have also registered impressive progress in our cooperation across the full spectrum of the relationship," he said.
He said his meeting with Mr Obama would be an opportunity to review their joint efforts and chart a course for the future cooperation between the two countries.
He said he also looked forward to discussing a broad range of global and regional developments, and how the two countries could work together to advance their shared interests. 
Dr Singh said the UNGA would focus this year on the follow up to the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro, which marked the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit. 
The General Assembly will also look at drawing up the global development agenda after 2015, which is the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set in 2000, he said.
"Despite successes on many parameters, the world as a whole is unlikely to meet the MDGs, and it is important that we sustain our efforts. I will emphasize the importance of maintaining poverty eradication and inclusive development at the core of the post-2015 development agenda. The Sustainable Development Goals that are expected to be drawn up as part of the follow-up to the Rio+20 Conference should ensure a holistic approach to sustainable development objectives, ensuring a balanced treatment of its economic, social and environmental dimensions as well as universal applicability," he said.
The Prime Minister said the UNGA was meeting at a time of enormous political upheaval, particularly in West Asia, coupled with a global economic slowdown that has now affected even the emerging economies.
"I will convey our strong conviction that global challenges are best addressed through multilateral approaches, with the United Nations at its centre. I will also stress the pressing need for early reform of institutions of global political and economic governance, particularly the United Nations Security Council, so that the UN can play an effective and credible role. The year 2015 will mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, and it would be a fitting occasion to conclude the ongoing reform efforts," he said.

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