Washington, D.C. (June 27, 2010) – President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held bilateral talks during the G20 Summit in Toronto last week. Obama called Prime Minister Singh a good friend and an extraordinary leader for not only for India, but also for helping the world navigate through very difficult times.
“I can tell you that here at the G20, when the Prime Minister speaks people listen, particularly because of his deep knowledge of economic issues, as well as the fact that he understands that as India rises as a world power, not just a regional power, that it also has enormous responsibilities to work with the rest of the world community around issues of peace and prosperity,” said Obama.
Prime Minister Singh visited the United States for as the first state dinner of the Obama Administration. The two instituted a strategic partnership to involve all cabinet members at the highest levels to work together on ways to enhance commercial ties, security ties, and coordination on critical multilateral issues like climate change.
Since that meeting Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has led a delegation to Washington, conducted high-level talks with Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The meetings ensured, said Obama, that in addition to government-to-government ties, the two nations are also initiating people-to-people ties.
One result was an Indian-American CEO conference, which will continue to assist businesses to work together, and generate recommendations on ways to improve ties between the United States and India.
“I am very pleased to have accepted a visit on behalf of myself and Michelle to India,” said Obama. “It is a trip that I’m very much looking forward to, and I know that the Prime Minister and his gracious wife will extend great hospitality to us.
“We are also just excited because of the tremendous cultural, as well as political and social and economic examples that India is providing the world and has in the past,” he added.
Prime Minister Singh reiterated the progress noting that India attaches the greatest importance to building a relationship with the United States as a steady partnership. He called this a “common endeavor”, in which to develop new trust, meaning, and content in a global endeavor.
He said that there are difficulties with managing social and economic transformation within the framework of a democracy committed to the rule of law, and committed to all fundamental human freedoms. He said that is what India seeks to achieve, and he said that it will require the active involvement and participation of the United States.
Singh called Obama a role model to millions of people around the world.
“Your life history is a history which inspires millions of people everywhere where there are people who have risen by the sheer depth of their austerity, of their hard work, and their commitment to the values on which you have worked and you’ve stood for,” said Singh. “It has been my privilege, Mr. President, to enjoy your friendship, and this is something which I will cherish forever in my life.”
Singh said that India will provide a very warm welcome to President and Mrs. Obama. He looks forward to hosting what he hopes will be a productive and exciting journey to a country of India’s diversity and complexity.
“We are engaged in getting rid of chronic poverty, ignorance and disease, which still afflict millions and millions of our people,” said Singh. “And it’s our common desire to work together to get rid of this scourge in our lifetime. And in that, the United States’ support means a great deal to us. Your personal commitment to social justice is something we cherish.”