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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2004

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Manmohan, Bush express desire to strengthen ties

Sridhar Krishnaswami

New York , Sept. 21

THE Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the US President George W. Bush agreed that policies "encouraging greater integration" of the economies of the two countries and with the global economy would offer opportunities to expand and strengthen the economic partnership.

Dr Singh and Mr Bush met this morning over breakfast at the Presidential suite of the Waldorf Astoria and spent nearly an hour talking about a "broad canvass" of issues on bilateral relations.

"...the two leaders expressed their desire to strengthen cooperation on international economic issues including the WTO's Doha Round Agenda and on the bilateral efforts such as the US-India Economic Dialogue and the High Technology Cooperation Group," a joint statement titled "US-India Partnership:Cooperation and Thrust" says.

"President Bush and Dr Singh agreed that stronger partnership between India and the US, two nations sharing values and traditions, acting in concert in international institutions would enhance global security and prosperity," the statement said.

Briefing media persons after the summit meeting, the Foreign Secretary, Mr Shyam Saran, said that DrSingh remarked that the "best days were yet to come" in the bilateral relationship as the potential has not been fully explored. Mr Bush for his part is said to have expressed interest in India's economic development making the point that the country has a "huge potential."

Dr Singh, according to the Foreign Secretary, pointed out that successive Governments in India have carried through with economic reforms and that this present government is committed to "deepening and broadening" those reforms but keeping in mind the need to address the disparities.

At a broad level, both leaders are said to have agreed on a common commitment for a rule based and effective multilateral economic system.

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