My equation with Bush, Obama due to India’s rise

By Arvind Padmanabhan, IANS,

On Board Air India One: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday said his personal rapport with US President Barack Obama and his predecessor George Bush had everything to do with India’s rise, and what he was today was because of what the country had made him.

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“It is really a tribute to India that attracted George Bush and the same thing I find in President Obama,” the prime minister told journalists aboard his special aircraft while returning from G-20 summit in Seoul, when asked about his close relations with the two American presidents.

“President Bush, when the first time I met him, he introduced me to his wife and said: ‘Laura, do you know of any other country of 1.2 billion people committed to democracy, committed to respect for fundamental human freedom, committed to the rule of law and yet doing well in terms of the development agenda’?”

“So it was India’s attractiveness. India is a unique country, that with all our diversity, with all the complexities of caste, of religion, we remain a functioning democracy, that we can manage to grow at 8-9 percent,” Manmohan Singh added.

He said the same, perhaps, applied to Obama, who was on a four-day official visit to India that ended Tuesday.

“His (Obama’s) speech to our parliament, his idea of India that he talked about in his speeches, is a reflection of the uniqueness of India as a functioning democracy, committed to the rule of law, committed to respect for fundamental human freedoms and yet managing to grow at a respectable rate,” the prime minister said.

“So, this is a tribute to India and not a tribute to me. What I am is because what India has made me.”

(Arvind Padmanabhan can be reached at [email protected])