WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama Friday called Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "an outstanding partner" in promoting trade and stability in the Indian subcontinent.
After Obama and Singh met at the White House Friday, the two leaders spoke to reporters in the Oval Office, where Obama said Singh has been "a great friend and partner to the United States and to me personally during his tenure as prime minister of India."
"We've made enormous progress on the issue of civilian nuclear power and, in fact, have been able to achieve just in the last few days an agreement on the first commercial agreement between a U.S. company and India on civilian nuclear power," the president said.
"We have a wide-ranging security cooperation in battling terrorism, and something that Prime Minister Singh obviously is deeply concerned about, given the impact of terrorism on India. All of us remember the horrible events that took place in Mumbai, but as recently as the last few days, India continues to suffer from terrorist attacks. And our hearts go out to the families that have been impacted."
Obama said bilateral trade between the United States and India has grown 50 percent in the past few years, and India has worked closely with the United States on climate change, food security, poverty and disease.
The president said the two nations "have a shared interest in making sure that Afghanistan continues on its path to a peaceful, democratic country, and both share an interest in making sure that we help Afghans stand up for the rights of all groups inside of Afghanistan, that the rights of women and minority groups are protected, and that the upcoming election happens in a way that maintains and continues to strengthen stability in that troubled country."
"So, across the board, Prime Minister Singh has been an outstanding partner," he said. "India continues to grow at an amazing rate, but as Prime Minister Singh indicates, obviously there are a lot of people in India that are still trapped in poverty. His primary priority has been to alleviate that poverty and give all the people of India opportunity. And we want to make sure that we're strong partners in helping him to realize that vision, because we believe that if there's a strong India that that's good for the world and it's ultimately good for the United States of America."
Singh said he has "always believed that India and America are indispensable partners. And during the time that I have been prime minister, and particularly during the time that President Obama and I have worked together, I think President Obama has made an outstanding contribution to strengthening, widening and deepening of our cooperation in diverse fields."