PM will attend G-20 Summit in London

March 12th, 2009 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) With his health showing steady improvement, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will attend the G-20 Summit in London April 2 - an occasion that will also be marked by his first meeting with newly installed US President Barack Obama.
Ending uncertainty over the prime minister’s forthcoming visit, his office confirmed Thursday that he will go to London on a four-day visit starting April 1 in view of the importance of the meeting that is expected to forge a collective strategy to deal with the global economic meltdown.

“His health is improving by the day. He will be going to London except for some unforeseen last-minute hitches,” a reliable source in the Prime Minister’s Office told IANS.

An advance team of security and external affairs ministry officials returned from London Wednesday after checking out arrangements for the prime minister’s stay there.

The final say on the trip will be with the prime minister’s doctors, but they are quite upbeat about his fitness to attend the meet, the source added.

This will be the prime minister’s first overseas visit this year and the first after his heart bypass surgery nearly six weeks ago.

Manmohan Singh is expected to meet Obama and other world leaders on the sidelines of the G-20 summit.

“We both hope there would be a meeting between the two leaders,” Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told a press conference in Washington Wednesday after concluding the first high-level interaction with the Obama administration officials.

“We are looking forward to it,” he said, provided the prime minister, who is recovering from heart surgery, is permitted by his doctors to visit London.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who hosts the summit, has formally invited Manmohan Singh, a well-known economist and a former finance minister, along with other world leaders to attend the summit, sources said.

The summit, in the words of Brown, must signal “decisive action” to combat the global financial crisis.

The summit aims to work out “a global deal” in which each emerging economy will contribute its bit in stemming the crisis.

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