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Indian prime minister makes state visit to Washington

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Singh goes to Washington
  • Visit by Indian PM Manmohan Singh is first state visit for Obama administration
  • Singh to visit White House on Tuesday, attend state dinner Tuesday night
  • Wednesday he'll meet with secretaries of state and defense

Washington (CNN) -- President Obama will welcome Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for an official state visit Tuesday.

The two leaders will discuss a range of global, regional and bilateral issues, the White House said. Those discussions are likely to center on Afghanistan, climate change and nuclear energy cooperation. Singh has been quoted as saying that a Taliban victory in Afghanistan would be disastrous for Central and South Asia.

Singh's visit will be the first state visit hosted by the administration, the highest honor extended to a foreign dignitary. It will be Singh's second visit to Washington; he has also met with former President George W. Bush. Grammy- and Oscar-award-winning singer and actress Jennifer Hudson will entertain the black-tie crowd, several sources involved in the planning outside the administration said.

Hudson, raised in Chicago like first lady Michelle Obama, sang the National Anthem at the Democratic National Convention in August 2008 at the request of the Obama campaign, when Obama became the Democratic presidential nominee.

Singh arrived Sunday for his five-day visit. On Monday, he attended a luncheon hosted by the U.S.-India Business Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He addressed the Council on Foreign Relations later in the day.

Obama will receive the prime minister at the White House on Tuesday, and Singh and his wife will be the guests at an official state dinner Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, Singh will meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates and will later attend a reception for the Indian community hosted by Indian Ambassador to the United States Meera Shankar.

Singh will leave Washington Thursday morning and fly to Port of Spain, Trinidad, to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit.

Singh, 77, is a Cambridge- and Oxford-educated economist who was governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 1982 to 1985 and the nation's finance minister from 1991 to 1996. A member of the Congress Party, he is serving a second five-year term as prime minister. He was sworn in as prime minister in May 2004 and again this past May.

He and his wife of 51 years, Gursharan Kaur, have three daughters.