:Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama will meet here on Thursday to chart a course for "future cooperation" in areas like civil nuclear technology, trade, investment, defence and counter-terrorism, amid perceptions that bilateral strategic ties have plateaued.
Some agreements including in the field of defence are expected to be signed after the summit meeting between the two leaders, their third since 2009. During the meeting at the Oval Office in the White House, Singh is expected to flag India's concerns over the proposed changes in US visa norms which would affect the highly-skilled IT professionals from India.
Situation in the South Asian region, including Afghanistan after withdrawal of US-led forces next year, besides global issues like Syria are also expected to figure in the talks. Before embarking on the visit, Singh said, "Over the past decade, our relationship with the US, which is one of our most important relationships, has transformed into a global strategic partnership."
He said, "The intensive, high-level bilateral visits over the last few months reflect the strong momentum of bilateral engagement. We have also registered impressive progress in our cooperation across the full spectrum of the relationship...My visit is an opportunity to review our joint efforts and chart a course for our future cooperation."
The Prime Minister said India sees the US as a long-term partner in the country's development efforts, and in fostering a global environment that is conducive to its growth.
Singh said, "For India, the US remains a key source of technology, investment, innovation, resources and one of the most important destinations for our goods and services.
"We have productive and deepening partnerships in trade and investment, defence, counter-terrorism, intelligence, internal security, cyber security, civil nuclear energy, environment, health, higher education, space, science and technology and culture," he said.
President Obama is also looking forward to his meeting with Singh. "He (Obama) very much looks forward to the meeting," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
"He looks forward to having a discussion about all of the issues and shared objectives that the US and India have," Carney said.
Responding to impressions that there had been a bilateral drift in Indo-US ties, a senior Obama administration official said that a series of high-level exchanges between the two countries, including the India visit by Vice President Joe Biden and now Singh's meeting with Obama is not an indication of a relationship that has plateaued.