Toyako, Japan: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W Bush today held detailed discussions on the Indo-US nuclear deal after which both leaders affirmed that the agreement was important for both countries.
The two leaders spoke in unison on strengthening the bilateral “strategic relationship” after Singh drove more than 100 km from Sapporo at dawn to meet Bush at Hotel Windsor on the picturesque Mt Poromoi in Hakkoida island, where the G-8 leaders are meeting for their annual summit.
During an extended 50-minute meeting, which took hours before the Left parties formally withdrew support to the UPA government on the nuclear deal, Bush sad he “respected” Singh “a lot” and congratulated the Indian prime minister for his “leadership at home”.
“It was a really good meeting amongst two friends. And so, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for joining us today, and congratulations on your leadership at home,” Bush said in a remark that reflected the camaraderie the two leaders have developed over a series of meetings.
The body language of the two leaders, the warm handshake they exchanged and highly appreciative words they used for each other clearly reflected the commitment both sides have in seeing the nuclear go through fast, given the time constraints.
“We talked about the nuclear deal — how important that is for our respective countries,” was all Bush said in clear reference to the agreement the two leaders had reached on civilian nuclear agreement reached almost three years ago.
The Prime Minister spoke of the “progress” made between the two countries in several areas including nuclear, defence, space and education.