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Remarks by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and President Obama during their press interaction on April 2, 2009 at London

April 2, 2009

President Obama: I just wanted to say a brief word about the importance of relationship between the United States and India. We are the world's two largest democracies. India, like America is full of diversity, full of energy and it is a complicated place like the United States is complicated.

But there are very few countries that have such a strong affection and affinity between the two as between India and the United States. What is also true is that, I think, the United States sees India as a global power, and a critical partner in helping deal with the challenges of twenty first century. Everything from climate change, to poverty, to trade, to science and innovation. 

Much of the growth and rise of India I think can be attributed to the wisdom of its Prime Minister, who helped to unleash the economic power of India, and is now guiding it to a host of challenges, to a host of opportunities. 

So I just wanted to express my admiration for Prime Minister Singh. I am grateful for the time that I have with him here in London. I hope that by the time the summit is over, I can call him a friend. 

And I look forward to him visiting the United States, and I look forward to visiting India. Thank you. 

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh: Mr. President, your wisdom and transformatory leadership has aroused hope and expectation all over the world. For young people in diverse lands, you are a role model. I mentioned to you that when I was coming here, my daughter said she wanted a favour from me and I said, what is that favour? She brought a book of yours and she said I would cherish if you could persuade President Obama to autograph this book. And you were gracious enough to do that. 

Mr. President, there is enormous respect and admiration for you as an individual, for the values that you stand and the ray of hope you have imparted to oppressed people in all parts of the world. We in India respect you enormously, and I bring you greetings from our President, Mrs. Pratibha Patil, the Government and the people of our country and I have every reason to believe that under your distinguished and visionary leadership, India's relationship with United States would grow from strength to strength. As you have said, we are two democracies. We have common value systems. We believe in individual freedom, we believe in respect of fundamental human rights, we believe in the rule of law. And over the year our two societies, the civil societies- have grown to like each other enormously. 

Today Mr President, eighty thousand students of India are studying in the United States. There is hardly a middle-class family in India, which does not have a son, a brother or a brother-in-law working in the United States. These are permanent bonds which bind our countries together. 

Our relations with the United States are very good and Sir, in the last five years that I have been the Prime Minister, it has been my top priority to work to strengthen our relationship with the United States in every possible area. I said our relations are very good, we are strategic partners, but we cannot be satisfied with the status quo. And under your distinguished leadership, we are going to chart out a new path of collaboration in diverse fields- in economics, in dealing with the challenges of climate change, in dealing with the challenges of energy security, in dealing with the challenges of terror, how to make this world secure from the menace of terror, to work together in bilateral fora, to work together in multilateral fora. We share your vision. 

Mr President, you wrote a letter to me before you became the President on 23rd of September, and I think that's a beautiful agenda for our two countries to work together, to realise our dreams of closer and closer relationship with the United States under your distinguished leadership. 

And I do look forward to- the people of India would love to have you with us, your gracious wife, your children, and I sincerely hope you can plan to visit India early enough. A very very warm welcome awaits you Sir.