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A Conversation with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh

Speaker: Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, Republic of India
Presider: Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
November 23, 2009

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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, speaking at the Washington office of the Council on Foreign Relations on November 23, discussed U.S.-India cooperation, Pakistan's terrorism threat, India's role in Afghanistan, India's economic growth and development, and global challenges to confronting climate change.

Singh, on a four-day trip to the United States as President Obama's first state visitor, listed agriculture, trade, education, defense, and energy as some of the areas for increased bilateral cooperation between Washington and New Delhi. On climate change, though, he reiterated India's long-held stance that it would only support a solution that does not hurt its economic growth.

Singh urged the international community to make long-term commitments to Afghanistan's development. Addressing growing concerns -- especially in Pakistan -- on India's involvement in Afghanistan, Singh said: "We do not see Afghanistan as a theater of influence. Our interest is in building a region of peace and stability."

The prime minister expressed concern regarding the spread of militancy inside Pakistan and its effects on regional security. He said that Pakistan had failed to sever links with militant groups targeting India, and he set Islamabad's break with these groups as a precondition for peace talks, including on issues relating to the disputed region of Kashmir. "Pakistan must make a break with the past, abjure terrorism, and come to the table with good faith and sincerity," he said.

This meeting was co-sponsored with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

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