Rousing Welcome for PM at White House

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was accorded a lively welcome at the White House where he was received by President Barack Obama before the two leaders sat down for bilateral talks, expected to take their strategic ties to a new level.

The US President and First Lady Michelle personally welcomed Singh, who is accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur, at the White House.

Prime Minister Singh is the first State guest of the Obama Administration
The ceremonial welcome, planned to be held at the White House lawns, had to be shifted to the sprawling mansion due to rains.

National Anthems of both the nations were played during the ceremony.
The two leaders are scheduled to discuss a range of bilateral issues and the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan during their one-on-one meeting.

The two leaders had earlier met on sidelines of the G-20 Summit in London in April and briefly at Pittsburgh’s G-20 Summit, however this would be for the first time they would discuss bilateral issues and possibilities of cooperation on key global issues like climate change.

The two leaders are understood to have exchanged views on a range of issues, including terrorism, situation in the region, climate change, economic and business ties, agriculture and education.

This is Singh’s second State Visit to the US; he had earlier been hosted by former President George W Bush in 2005.

After the meeting and discussions between the delegations of two countries, Singh and Obama are scheduled to address a joint press conference and issue a joint statement reflecting the strengthening of the relationship between the two countries.

The two countries will sign a number of pacts, including an MoU on Counter-Terrorism for stepped up cooperation against the menace.

The two leaders will also discuss the problem of climate change ahead of the December Summit in Copenhagen.

The most anticipated part of the entire trip however is the State Dinner, when the Obamas host the first black-tie dinner for the Prime Minister.

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