Manmohan Singh meets Bush, discusses n-deal and strategic ties (Lead)

July 9th, 2008 - 7:54 am ICT by IANS  

Toyako, July 9 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday met US President George W. Bush on the sidelines of the G8 summit at this hot springs resort in the mountainous Japanese island of Hokkaido and the two sides discussed their landmark nuclear deal and development of strategic ties, officials said after the meeting. The two leaders met for about 45 minutes at Hotel Windsor Toya, overlooking the scenic Lake Toya before going into a breakfast meeting involving G8 leaders and another eight leaders of the Outreach nations.

Making brief statements to the media after emerging from their meeting, both leaders said they discussed the nuclear deal. The deal has caused a rupture in Manmohan Singh’s coalition government with his Communist allies announcing Tuesday that they would withdraw parliamentary support over it.

Bush, who has been pushing the nuclear deal as the showpiece of the foreign policy achievements of his tenure, said India needed nuclear energy for its development.

Singh said ties with the US were never so good as now and said besides the nuclear deal, the two leaders discussed climate change, educational exchanges, cooperation in space and free trade issues among a range of bilateral and international subjects.

Manmohan Singh, who winds up a three-day visit here, drove two hours at 5 a.m. from Sapporo where he is staying through mist-laden mountains and a lush green country landscape to meet the American leader who is here to attend the annual G8 summit of the world’s industrialised nations.

The Indian government is expected to go through several mandatory procedures with the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group before the deal, in the making for three years, goes to Washington for a presidential determination and Congressional endorsement of the 123 bilateral enabling agreement.

Manmohan Singh, who came here to attend the Outreach meetings of the G8 summit as the representative of one of the five invited emerging economies (India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico), returns to New Delhi Wednesday night to confront the political crisis facing his government.

He said here Tuesday that the withdrawal by the Left would not affect the stability of his government and he was ready to face parliament.

Three other nations - Australia, South Korea and Indonesia - were also special invitees at the Outreach meetings.

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