WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama is “very excited” about his upcoming visit to India and is looking forward to developing strong relations with the country, a top official of the US State Department has said.
“The President is very excited about his tour of India next month and considers it a very important one,” the official, who did not want to be named, told a group of visiting journalists from South and Central Asia at the State Department.
The official said Obama had talked about a “defining partnership” with India and termed it an ally in the war on terror.
“Things changed after 9/11 and we (US and India) have common issues with regard to the war on terror. India is going to be an ever stronger partner,” the official quoted Obama as having said.
During the President’s visit to India, the focus would be on global challenges facing the two countries, the official said.
The official declined to discuss the agenda or details of the itinerary of the President’s visit, citing security issues.
Responding to a question, the official said Obama’s visit should not be seen as a “loss for Pakistan and a benefit to India”.
He said, “We should not indulge in this debate.”
The official made it clear that the President had already said he would not be going to Pakistan this year.
“Perhaps (the President will go to Pakistan) next year,” he said.