US President Barack Obama on Friday announced he will visit India in November, acknowledging that country is a rising and responsible global power "indispensable" to a future American strategy.
Obama in his address in front of a select audience at a reception hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in honour of the External Affairs Minister S M Krishna also said the relationship between the US and India is "fundamentally unique."
George W Bush was the last US President to visit India when he came here in March 2006.
The US President was making a rare visit to the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department to attend a reception for a visiting foreign minister. Krishna was in Washington for the Indo-US Strategic Dialogue.
As of now his travel dates to India has been tentatively scheduled from November 7 to November 10, a senior administration official told PTI.
"During his State Visit, the Prime Minister(Manmohan Singh) graciously invited me and my family to visit India this year, and I happily accepted. And as I confirmed to him when we spoke last week, I'm delighted to announce tonight that I plan to visit India in early November," he said.
Obama said US' relations with India are at the highest of priorities for his administration and for "me personally" as president of the US.
"So I look forward to advancing our partnership, to experiencing all that India and its people and its incredible ancient culture have to offer," Obama said.
Obama said he firmly believed the relationship between the two counties will be a defining partnership in the 21st century.
"The United States values our partnership not because of where India is on a map but because of what we share and where we can go together.
India is indispensable to the future that we seek, a future of security and prosperity for all nations," he said.
"That's why a third of my Cabinet has already visited India. That is why officials from across my administration are a part of this strategic dialogue.
That's why I want to thank you for the progress that we've made together since Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh's visit," the US President said.
"Michelle and I were honoured to welcome Prime Minister Singh and Mrs Kaur to the White House for the very first official state visit of my presidency.
"I said then that India is a leader in Asia and around the world. It's a rising power and a responsible global power.
That's why I firmly believe that the relationship between the United States and India will be a defining partnership in the 21st century," he said.
"The new National Security Strategy that I released last week makes this absolutely clear.
A fundamental pillar of America's comprehensive engagement with the world involves deepening our cooperation with 21st century centres of influence, and that includes India," Obama said. PTI