Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, left, and Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, right.
Washington, D.C. (April 11, 2010) – The White House News Service reports that President Barack Obama met separately on Sunday with both Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani as the two leaders both attended the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.Obama met first with Prime Minister Singh and reiterated his commitment to visit India in 2010. The two leaders vowed to continue to strengthen the robust relationship between the people of their countries and looked forward to the upcoming U.S./India Strategic Dialogue as the next step in that process, the report stated. They also agreed on the need for India and the United States to work together on global development issues, including economic infrastructure, food security, and poverty reduction.
The two leaders also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and their shared vision for a strong, stable, and prosperous South Asia. In this context, President Obama welcomed the humanitarian and development assistance that India continues to provide to Afghanistan.
Obama thanked Singh for his attendance at the Nuclear Security Summit and for India’s role in making the Summit a success. They also discussed a number of regional and global issues, including counterterrorism and nonproliferation.
Later that day Obama met with Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani at Blair House on the margins of Pakistan’s participation in the Nuclear Security Summit. The President was joined by Secretary of State Clinton and the Prime Minister was joined by Foreign Minister Qureshi.
Obama began by noting that he is very fond of Pakistan, having visited the country during college. The leaders reaffirmed the positive relations between the U.S. and Pakistan, a relationship of significant importance because of the shared values of our countries and the fight we are both engaged in against extremists operating in South Asia.
The President also noted that our multi-faceted and long-term strategic relationship goes far beyond security issues.
Obama expressed his appreciation to Prime Minister Gilani for the quick reaction of Pakistani security forces to the April 5 terrorist attack on the United States Consulate in Peshawar, adding his condolences for the Pakistani casualties and the attack on a political event in Lower Dir that same day. He noted the two attacks were examples that extremists do not distinguish between Americans and Pakistanis and illustrates that the two countries face a common enemy.
The two leaders discussed the bilateral progress made during the March 24-25 Strategic Dialogue and Obama reiterated the U.S. pledge to work with Pakistan to address issues of mutual concern in the long-term relationship. Gilani also indicated his approval of the progress made during the Strategic Dialogue and his hope that the working groups that have been established to address various aspects of the relationship would yield progress in advance of the next Strategic Dialogue meeting, scheduled for late 2010 in Islamabad.
Gilani noted that his participation in the Nuclear Security Summit comes at a time when popular support for the U.S.-Pakistan relationship is growing. He said that prior to embarking for the United States, he met with the National Command Authority, both houses of parliament, the political opposition, and military leaders.
Obama indicated appreciation of the broad-based sentiment and addressed the topic of the conference, reasserting the importance of nuclear security as a priority for all countries. Gilani indicated his assurance that Pakistan takes nuclear security seriously and has appropriate safeguards in place.
Gilani also expressed his appreciation for the broad U.S. assistance program to Pakistan, a multi-faceted effort to make progress on various sectors including: economy, trade, education, infrastructure, security. He noted that energy is an existing and growing problem.
Obama reiterated the U.S. commitment to helping Pakistan address its real and growing energy needs and noted that he is pleased that implementation is proceeding on the $125m in energy-sector projects Secretary Clinton announced in October.