NEW DELHI (AFP) - Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh left Sunday for the United States and Britain and said he would push forward dialogue with rival Pakistan, stress his commitment to economic reforms and lobby for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
Singh will address the UN General Assembly in New York where he will also hold his first meetings with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and US President George W. Bush.
The premier, whose left-leaning government took office in May, told reporters at the airport that his meeting with Musharraf "will be a further step in the ongoing dialogue process with Pakistan".
The rival neighbours have been trying cautiously to repair relations in a peace drive initiated last year by Singh's predecessor Atal Behari Vajpayee, whose Hindu nationalists lost elections a year later.
Singh said he would discuss with Bush ways to bring to US-India relations "greater content, particularly in the economic and high technology fields".
The United States on Friday agreed to lift export controls on equipment for nuclear facilities in India in the latest easing of sanctions imposed on New Delhi after it declared itself a nuclear power in 1998. "I will take advantage of being in the United States to convey that the government is determined to carry forward the process of economic reforms," Singh said.