Obama meets Manmohan, says India 'big part' of my plan

PTI11_20_2012_000103B_Kand.jpg.crop_display.jpg

Meeting for the first time after his re-election, US President Barack Obama told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday that ‘India is a big part of my plan’ after the two leaders met briefly on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit here.

The meeting was brief and unstructured, but the two met and shook hands warmly like old friends, Indian officials said. Manmohan Singh congratulated Obama for winning the presidential election.

Obama came here after visiting Myanmar where he met democracy leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi, who had just returned from her India visit.

Separately, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon met his American counterpart Tom Donilon for 90 minutes, an Indian official said.

Before Obama's departure from Washington, Donilon had outlined the administration's Asia policy, especially ties with its two big powers, India and China.

He has said that while the US has "given a full embrace of India's rise", its ties with Beijing were more complex with "elements of both cooperation and competition".

"The relationship with India is obviously rooted in history and it's rooted in a shared system of democracy. And it's a unique relationship that we're building out. It has different aspects to it," Donilon said in response to a searching question from an Indonesian diplomat.

"The relationship with China is more complex." Donilon said. "We're trying to build a relationship - and a complicated relationship, multi-dimensional relationship that's profoundly important to both nations and to the world, between two systems that are very different.

"With respect to India, we have given a full embrace of India's rise. The president went to India on a three-day trip, as you know, and stood beneath the picture of Mahatma Gandhi, and called for India's membership in a reformed Security Council.

"It's a full embrace of India's rise as a partner. And again, as two of the most important democracies in the world, it's an important strategic thrust for us as well," he said.

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