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Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's statement prior to his departure for USA, and Trinidad and Tobago

New Delhi
  I am leaving today for Washington on a bilateral visit to the United States at the invitation of President Barack Obama. I will thereafter attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit in Trinidad and Tobago.

India attaches high priority to its relations with the USA. Our bilateral agenda covers almost all areas of human endeavour. The United States is our largest trading partner in goods and services, and we have deep economic ties. There is a large Indian American community and robust people-to-people exchanges. Above all, we share common values and commitment to democracy, pluralism and human rights.

The last several years have witnessed a transformation in India-US relations. Today, they are characterized by greater maturity, depth and convergence of interests. I look forward to building upon this momentum during my visit.

A sustained and dynamic India-US partnership is essential if we are to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. At the bilateral level, we look forward to building upon our Strategic Dialogue by adding greater substance to our cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, services, energy, science and technology, defence, high technology trade, education, agriculture and health.

I also look forward to exchanging views with President Obama on the major global threats and challenges of our times, such as international terrorism, climate change, the global economic slowdown, the Doha round of trade negotiations, and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. I also expect to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, and other regional issues.

During the visit, I will be meeting senior members of the US Cabinet and US Senators and Congressmen. I will attend a business event jointly hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce and the US-India Business Council where members of the India-US CEOs Forum will also be present. I will address the Council of Foreign Relations and Woodrow Wilson Centre, where I look forward to interacting with leading opinion makers of the United States. I will meet members of the Indian American community who are playing an important role in fostering closer ties between our two countries.

After my visit to Washington, I will travel to Port of Spain to attend the meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government. This is the 60th anniversary year of the Commonwealth. We attach high importance to the role of the Commonwealth in promoting cooperation amongst its members and in engaging the world in shaping a cooperative, equitable and development-friendly world order. The theme for CHOGM-2009 is “Partnering for a More Equitable and Sustainable Future”. I look forward to a wide-ranging exchange of views with other leaders on how we can address the challenge of climate change, which is a matter of particular concern to developing countries, small states and vulnerable states.