1 Dec : US President Barack Obama on Tuesday spoke to PM Manmohan Singh and discussed with him the situation in Afghanistan and further steps required to bring peace and stability in the country.
During the “brief conversation”, the two leaders also discussed the forthcoming summit on climate change in Copenhagen, the Prime Minister’s Office said in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Singh told Obama that India would play a constructive role in the negotiations and looked forward to a successful outcome in Copenhagen.
Obama’s call to Singh takes place close on the heels of the two leaders’ meeting in Washington during which the Afghan issue was discussed prominently.
Singh had said it was important for all major regional and international players to put their weight behind the Afghan government.
Obama had highlighted the importance of tackling violence and extremism emanating from the region “in a serious way”.
India feels that due to the continued threat posed by terrorism emanating from Afghanistan, the world community should stay engaged there and not think about “pre-mature exit” as it could embolden terrorists.
Singh is of the view that India and the US needed to do more in cooperation on counter-terrorism.
“I sincerely hope that the world community will have the wisdom to stay engaged in that process and premature talk of exit would only embolden the terrorist elements who are out to destabilise not only our part of the world but civilised world everywhere,” Singh had said in Washington last week.
Though Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have suggested that the Prime Minister should attend the Copenhagen summit starting on 7th December, Singh is yet to take a call on attending it.
Ahead of the crucial meet, India has said it was willing to take greater steps to tackle the challenge posed by global warming provided there was a more supportive global regime.
India has also made it clear that it was not in a position to take legally binding emission cuts but has already embarked on an enhanced energy efficiency mission which could reduce the carbon intensity of its rapid growth.
In New Delhi, Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Shyam Saran said contrary to the developed countries’ action, India has already begun unconditional implementation of its action plan to tackle global warming.
“Developed countries are making their actions conditional on what others are doing. We have national action plan whose implementation is not conditional on anyone giving us a penny, including technological aspects,” Saran had said on Monday.
In Washington, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the President would be making several calls to world leaders to brief them on his new Af-Pak policy.
He said the new Af-Pak policy would come with an exit strategy and will not be “an open-ended commitment”.”Ultimately, the strategy will be to transfer the security responsibility of an area to the Afghans,” he said.
More than 100,000 US and NATO troops are in Afghanistan, and the President is expected to announce the addition of over 30,000 more US troops to support the war effort.