Barack Obama Hosts Indian Prime Minister in White House

A number of agreements for closer relations were netted during Indian Prime Minister's  high-profile visit to the U.S. 

Singh met U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday at the White House, with the two governments pledging to embrace an unprecedented strategic partnership.

The positive mood was backed by a series of memoranda of understanding covering global security and countering terrorism, a green partnership, economic trade and agriculture, education and health.

However, despite the much trumpeted "strategic partnership," divergences remain between the two countries, especially in the fields of nuclear energy, security, anti-terrorism, and environmental protection, Xinhua reports.

It was also reported, the leaders of the world's oldest democracy and the world's largest pledged to work together to strengthen the global economy, curb climate change, limit the spread of nuclear weapons and fight terrorism.

After a two-hour meeting with Mr. Obama, Prime Minister Singh told reporters he has invited the president and his family to visit him in India next year.

"I have invited President Obama to visit India. A very warm welcome awaits him, his gracious wife and his two daughters," said Mr. Singh.

Mr. Obama praised his visitor as an honest and wise man, and accepted his offer.

"I have happily accepted his gracious invitation to visit India next year," he said, Voice of America reports.

News agencies also report, the two leaders also announced a counter-terrorism Cooperation Initiative to expand collaboration on counter-terrorism, information sharing, and capacity building.

"To prevent future (Mumbai style) attacks, we agreed that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies will work even closer, including sharing more information," Singh said.

Security expert Ravi Dawa said that terrorism is a major concern, not only in South Asia but also in the world.

"By pledging to work together to eliminate terrorism on the eve of the first anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks last November, the U.S. has raised its relations with India to a new level," he said.

Analysts believe the state visit is a sign of the rapidly warming relationship between the two countries, which had uneasy ties during the Cold War but which Obama has vowed to treat as a first-rate partner.

"To be in specific, it's a significant step for bilateral relations," said political commentator S.K. Gupta, Xinhua reports.

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