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Statement by PM on his departure for USA

New Delhi
July 16, 2005   

“I will be leaving for Washington on an official visit to the United States at the invitation of President George Bush.

India attaches the highest importance to further developing and strengthening the strategic partnership with the United States, both in the bilateral context as well as to strengthen our partnership to meet global challenges. As the world’s two largest democracies, we have common values and interests.

In my meetings with President Bush, I look forward to a comprehensive review of our bilateral relations. The United States is our largest trading partner. Accelerated economic cooperation, relating to trade, investment and technology collaboration is a primary objective. Some of the initiatives under consideration include enhancing the content of our Economic and Energy dialogues; Global Initiatives on Democracy and on combating HIV/AIDS and on Agricultural Education and Research. We hope to strengthen our relations in the field of science and technology and hope to enhance the content of our interactions in the field of space and civilian nuclear energy cooperation.

During my stay in Washington, I also look forward to meetings with Vice President Cheney and senior members of the Cabinet. I will be addressing a Joint Session of the US Congress. Meetings have also been arranged with the Senate leadership as well as the India Caucus in the US Congress. I will also be speaking at a luncheon hosted by the National Press Club. Meetings with leading US and Indian CEOs and a cross section of the vibrant Indian American community are also scheduled.

My visit to the United States is an important element of our effort to establish friendly and productive relations abroad so as to optimize the benefits for India’s development and for our security and foreign policy interests”.