Obama, Manmohan Singh May Meet at La Cabos

Washington, Jun 16 (IANS): Keen to forge deeper strategic and economic ties with India as the US draws down in Afghanistan, US President Barack Obama may meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the La Cabos G-20 summit in Mexico.

"I think he'll have a chance to see Prime Minister Singh on the margins of the G-20," Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor to the president for strategic communications, told reporters Thursday previewing the June 18-19 summit.

"In the context of leaders speaking, there is not a formal bilateral meeting planned," he said referring to the likelihood of an Obama-Singh meeting less than week after the India-US strategic dialogue here.

"We want to see deeper strategic cooperation between our two countries, for instance, as we deal with the future security of South Asia and Afghanistan as the United States draws down there," Rhodes said.

"We'd like to see deeper economic cooperation, including increased exports and commercial ties with India," he said.

"And that's something that was discussed in recent days, and the President is personally very supportive of those efforts," Rhodes said referring to the "strategic dialogue with India that runs across a range of different sectors.

Obama made a telephone call to Manmohan Singh Thursday a day after the India-US strategic dialogue essentially to talk "about coordinating efforts leading into the G20."

"I think they're in broad agreement about the need for there to be steps to promote global growth, about the need to have European leaders use the G20 as an opportunity to discuss their plans around the eurozone," Rhodes said.

In response to a question about corruption in India, the official said US has been "supportive of efforts within India to crack down on corruption."

"The G20 also has been a forum that we've used to lift up the issue of corruption so that countries can share best practices and join cooperative efforts to combat corruption," he said.

A White House readout of Obama's call Wednesday to Manmohan Singh said "The leaders agreed on the importance of steps to strengthen the resilience of the global economy in response to persistent risks in the Eurozone and elsewhere and on focusing on measures to boost global growth."

The two leaders "agreed to work closely together toward a successful G-20 Summit," it said.


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Title: Obama, Manmohan Singh May Meet at La Cabos

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