M K Narayanan meets Jones, discusses issues of mutual interest


National Security Advisor MK Narayanan with his US counterpart General James L Jones. File photo.

"General Jones met with his Indian counterpart as part of the ongoing relationship that they have developed dating back to their meetings in London and also the General went to Delhi (early this year)," said Mike Hammer, spokesman of the National Security Council.

"The focus of the meeting certainly was trying to make excellent preparations for a successful State visit later in November. A wide range of issues were touched upon that reflects the strategic partnership between the United States and India," Hammer said.

Prime Minister Singh is scheduled to meet Obama in the White House on November 24, the first state visit of the new US administration.

Without giving details of the issues that were discussed during their meeting on Monday, Hammer said it involved "a broad discussion" on a number of subjects of mutual interest and concerns.

The low-profile visit of Narayanan, which lasted for at least a few days, occurred just before the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left for Pakistan along with Richard Holbrooke, Special US Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In the Obama administration, this was the first US visit of Narayanan, former head of Intelligence Bureau.
Narayanan is understood to have met other officials of the Obama administration handling intelligence and national security matters, besides terrorism.

Under the new framework of Indo-US relationship, spelled out by the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her trip to India early this year, cooperation in combating terrorism is one of the key pillars of the relationship between the two countries.

Narayanan and Jones had first met in London in April on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit. Thereafter Jones travelled to India at the invitation of Narayanan in later part of June.

During his visit to India, Jones met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defense Minister A K Antony, the then Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Indian parliamentarians. He also held intensive discussions with Narayanan.

These consultations covered a broad range of bilateral and regional issues affecting common interests of the two countries, an official US statement had said.

"Among the topics for discussion were the US government's strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, our shared commitment to combat terrorism, and the post-election situation in Iran. They also talked about energy and developing closer economic and trade links as well as defence ties," the statement said.

Gen Jones outlined President Obama's desire to move quickly in the months ahead to make tangible progress on a range of issues that affect our nations' futures, it said.

After his India visit, Jones had said: "In addition to broadening our partnership on a variety of global and bilateral issues, we will work together closely on regional security matters. This is an area in which India is playing an important role. I trust that we will develop an even closer bond between the American and Indian people and build a more prosperous and secure future."

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