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Statement by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on his departure to the United States and France

New Delhi
September 22, 2008

“I am leaving for New York to attend the 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly. India has consistently attached importance to the central role of the United Nations in promoting global peace, stability and development. I look forward to addressing the UN General Assembly and attending the UN High Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals. I will use the opportunity to articulate India’s conviction that the contemporary challenges of our times are best addressed through collective and multilateral approaches. 

I will draw the world community’s attention to the need for the reform of international institutions, including of the United Nations, and to address global challenges such as the food and energy crises, terrorism and progress on the Millennium Development Goals. 

During my stay in New York, I also look forward to bilateral meetings with some of the visiting leaders, including of China, Italy, Namibia, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom. 

I also plan to meet a group of US CEOs, and members of the Indian-American community, both of whom have contributed to the consolidation of relations between India and the United States. 

At the invitation of President Bush I will visit Washington. I look forward to my discussions with him on the entire range of issues on our bilateral agenda with the United States, including our civil nuclear initiative. In recent years our relations have expanded significantly in areas of interest to us such as education, trade, business, technology, energy and agriculture. The engagement between the two countries has strengthened and we are pursuing the multi-faceted cooperation to our mutual benefit. 

We attach high value to our excellent relations with the European Union. The next India-EU Summit in Marseilles under the Presidency of France, which I will be attending, is part of the practice of annual Summit meetings between us. The European Union is our largest trading partner with whom we enjoy a multi-faceted strategic partnership. India and Europe are bound by the common values of democracy and pluralism. We have diverse areas of cooperation, including in the area of counter-terrorism, which I will seek to strengthen. I look forward to attending the India-EU Business Summit being held on the sidelines of our Summit. 

I will pay a bilateral visit to France at the invitation of President Sarkozy. India’s relations with France are longstanding and of strategic importance. I am confident that my visit will lead to the further consolidation of our relations in the areas of trade and investment, defence, space, civil nuclear cooperation and high technology.”