New Delhi, Oct. 30: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said relations between India and the US have entered a new phase and there is cordiality, there is understanding.
Speaking to newspersons on board Air India One on his way back from Hanoi days before President Barack Obamas visit, Singh said India and the US were welded by a common desire to bring about a qualitative change in the relationship.
We have economic and strategic interactions, we are strategic partners and there are many areas of common interest. We must explore areas if there is commonality of interest, he said.
However, he would not answer a specific question on what he expected from Obamas visit to India.
In the run-up to the visit next week, the Prime Minister this morning met US secretary of state Hillary Clinton on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Hanoi.
On his meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday on the margins of the Asean and East Asia summits, Singh said: In a general way we discussed a totality of issues.
India and China reaffirmed the commitment to resolving the boundary issue in Arunachal Pradesh and agreed that pending settlement, peace and calm should be maintained, Singh said.
Asked if China had softened its stand towards India after the belligerent postures in denying regular visas to Kashmir residents, Singh said: I do not want to get into this issue of whether somebody is being soft or harsh. Indias relations with China must be strong, and whatever misunderstandings exist, must be cleared. I invited Wen Jiabao to come to India in the very near future and he said he will.
National security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, who briefed the media on the 45-minute meeting between Singh and Clinton, said both thought Obamas visit to India would be historic.
The visit will enable us to add content to our relationship and scope to our strategic partnership, whether it is political, economic, trade and commerce and security relations, Menon said.
On Pakistan, the indication was that the secretary of state did the balancing act, saying that the US had conducted strategic dialogue with Pakistan and asking India to continue its efforts towards Afghanistans reconstruction. The US is determined to go forward with the goals in Afghanistan, Menon said.