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Remarks by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at the State Dinner hosted by President Obama and Mrs. Obama

Washington DC
  We feel privileged to be invited to the first State banquet under your Presidency. You do us, and India, great honour by this gesture. We are overwhelmed by the warmth of your hospitality, the courtesy you have extended to us personally and the grace and charm of the First Lady.

Mr. President, your journey to the White House has captured the imagination of all Indians. You are an inspiration to all those who cherish the values of democracy, diversity and equal opportunity.

I can do no better than to describe your achievements in the words of Abraham Lincoln who said “In the end, its not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years”.

We warmly applaud the recognition by the Nobel Committee of the healing touch you have provided and the power of your idealism and vision.

Your leadership of the United States coincides with a time of profound change in the world. We need to find new pathways of international cooperation that respond more effectively to the challenges caused by the growing interdependence of nations. As two leading democracies, India and the United States must play a leading role in building a shared destiny for all humankind.

A strong and sustained engagement between our two countries is good for our people and important for the world. We are embarking on a new phase of our partnership. We should build on our common values and interests to realize the enormous potential and promise of our partnership.

Our expanding cooperation in areas of social and human development and science and technology will better the lives of millions of people.

The success of the nearly 2.7 million strong Indian American community is a tribute to our common ethos. They have enriched and deepened our ties and I thank them warmly.

I convey my best wishes to you, Mr. President, as you lead this great nation and look forward to working with you to renew and expand our strategic partnership.

I wish you and the people of America a very Happy Thanks giving.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I invite you to join me in a toast to:

- The health and happiness of President Barrack Obama and the First Lady, Mrs. Obama,

- The friendly people of the United States of America, and

- Stronger friendship between India and the United States of America.