Manmohan to meet McCain, chat with Obama

September 23rd, 2008 - 1:12 am ICT by IANS  

Frankfurt, Sep 22 (IANS) Building on strong bipartisan consensus powering India-US ties, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet Republican presidential candidate John McCain Wednesday and is likely to have a telephonic conversation with Democrat nominee Barack Obama too, an Indian official said Monday.Looking beyond the current Bush regime that has seen a quantum expansion in bilateral ties, India is keen to connect across the political spectrum in the US.

A day before he meets US President George W. Bush in Washington, Manmohan Singh will meet McCain at Hotel New York Palace in New York, said the senior official accompanying the prime minister on his 10-day trip that will take him to Washington, Marseilles and Paris.

Manmohan Singh arrived in Frankfurt Monday en route to New York. After an overnight halt, he will leave for New York Tuesday morning.

The prime minister will discuss with McCain the future contours of the India-US ties in a prospective Republican presidency.

Like Bush, McCain is known for his strong advocacy of the nuclear deal and is said to have a soft corner for India.

Efforts are also underway to arrange a telephonic chat between Manmohan Singh and Obama, the flag bearer of the Democratic Party, the official said.

The conversation - the first between Manmohan and Obama - will set the stage for intensifying engagements in the event Democrat nominee becomes the next US president.

The dialogue will take place in the middle of the process of the ratification of the nuclear deal by the US Congress.

The phone call could prove to be crucial in influencing the Democrats to wave the mandatory 30-day period for speedy Congressional approval of the 123 civil nuclear pact, likely by the time Bush meets Manmohan Singh in White House Thursday.

Being a Democrat, Obama has a strong view on non-proliferation but clarified a few months ago that he will not push for changes in the nuclear deal should he become the president of the US.

With an eye on two-million strong affluent Indian American community Obama has declared his love for India and Indians.

He describes himself as a “desi” who cooks dal well and is said to have a portrait of Hindu god Hanuman in his office.

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