Washington: US President-elect Barack Obama has assured India that he attached “high priority” to further strengthening the strategic bilateral ties as top officials of the two sides met here to discuss the global financial crisis, the second high-level contact between them in as many days.
Deputy chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, accompanied by the Indian Ambassador to the US Ronen Sen, held talks with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Congressman Jim Leach, who have been nominated by Obama to meet delegations at the G-20 Summit on his behalf.
“There was an exchange of views on issues related to the current international economic and financial crisis, the summit, and also bilateral relations. Secretary Albright, inter alia, conveyed that the President-elect attached high priority to further strengthening of relations between India and the US,” an Indian embassy statement said.
This was the second high-level contact between the two sides since Obama called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday and described the Indo-US strategic relationship as a “very important partnership.”
Ahluwalia, the ‘sherpa’ of the Indian delegation at the summit, along with Sen also had a bilateral meeting with his US counterpart Dan Price, US President’s Special Assistant for Economic Affairs. “The discussions focussed on the issues before the summit,” the statement said.
Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ashok Chawla, participated in a separate meeting of finance deputies involved in preparing the summit outcome.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram will attend the two-day weekend meeting of G-20 called by US President George W Bush.