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Throughout his historic visit to the USA, the message of India's Prime Minister and celebrated "architect of India's economic reforms," Dr. Manmohan Singh, was direct and thoughtful. Instead of double-speak, there was sincerity; instead of political grandstanding, he exuded warmth and statesmanship; instead of outright expectation, he offered an assurance of cooperation, responsible policies and reforms, consideration of mutual interests, and strategic partnerships


Beyond the pomp and ceremony of welcome, the White House Reception and State Dinner, address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, substantive exchanges with President Bush, government officials, and the corporate community, he reached out to the Indian Diaspora. He addressed over 1,000 successful Indian Americans at a dinner reception hosted by the Indian Ambassador Ranendra Sen on July 19 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The Prime Minister spoke with conviction and measured passion; his words tempered by the spirit, culture, challenges of India, his Sikh faith, and personal tryst with destiny. Each guest felt that he was addressing him/her directly and personally. He seemed to be the embodiment of modesty and rare grace, wisdom and scholarship, and deep understanding of the burden and responsibility of his high office and events shaping the global landscape. He stirred deep pride not only as a leader of over one billion people of India but as a visionary and respected world-leader of our times. Our heart and spirit literally leaped forward to embrace him in affection with a fervent prayer: "Sutguru Jee Deeyaan Rukhan (May God Almighty, keep you safe O' noble son of India)."

He began by thanking the gathering for their incredible achievements and for "transforming the image of India in the minds of Americans." He challenged the receptive audience to help strengthen the US-India partnership between the world's oldest and largest pluralistic democracies into "a veritable highway for the flow of ideas, technology, and capital."

He emphasised that in this new century of "knowledge-driven partnerships," India is well prepared to be a formidable competitor and friendly partner. His call for a global effort to combat terrorism, HIV/AIDS, safeguard nuclear proliferation, and resolve other multi-lateral issues resonated with audiences here and abroad. He sought a greater voice for his country in the reformed United Nations. He pledged to lift India out of poverty with sustained economic growth, attract foreign investments, address the problems of healthcare, and institute further agriculture and democratic reforms. His words and vision placed a human face to the critical challenges of our times.

Time will tell how closely India, an emerging global power, and the United States, an established super power, will work to fulfill this week's promises of future cooperation at many levels. The visit of Dr. Manmohan Singh, the gentle statesman from the East, has put the relationship between the USA and India at the strongest level yet. Looking at India's myriad problems, defense and domestic needs, and growing consumer class, both countries have much to gain from expanded trade, cultural exchanges, and investments in India's technological sector and infrastructure. We are already witnessing that the young Republic of India "embarked on a journey inspired by many dreams" has found new friends in America and an unimagined momentum to further the aspirations of her people.

Kanwal Prakash "KP" Singh
Washington, D.C.


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