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Indian PM in Washington for Nuclear Summit

US: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived Saturday evening in Washington for a major summit on nuclear security, which he hoped would come up with “firm responses” against proliferation.

Singh’s plane landed at Andrews Air Force base on the outskirts of the US capital, Indian embassy spokesman Rahul Chhabra said. Singh was due to meet Sunday with President Barack Obama, a day before the 47-nation summit.

Obama, an advocate for the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons, convened the two-day summit to seek coordination to prevent loose nuclear material from falling into the hands of extremists.

“These are legitimate concerns which require firm responses,” Singh said upon leaving New Delhi.

India and rival Pakistan declared themselves nuclear powers in 1998, although New Delhi says that its goal is for all nations to eliminate the ultra-destructive weapons.

“We were among the first countries in the world to call for a world free of nuclear weapons. I am encouraged by the fact that this approach is finding greater resonance today,” Singh said.

“We will continue to call for more meaningful progress in this direction,” he said.

Obama last week laid out a revised policy that said for the first time that the United States — the only nation to have carried out a nuclear attack — would never use the weapons against a state that does not have nuclear arms and complies with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

India goes a step further by saying it will never be the first to use nuclear weapons, but it refuses to sign the NPT, which it considers discriminatory.

Singh will also meet in Washington with other world leaders including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

But Singh has no plans to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who arrives on Sunday and will hold his own bilateral meeting with Obama. Washington, Sunday, AFP

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