Chilean president calls Patil ‘dear friend’

April 23rd, 2008 - 8:05 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil
By Liz Mathew
Santiago, April 23 (IANS) A day after their first meeting, the bonding between Indian President Pratibha Patil and her Chilean counterpart Michelle Bachelet seems to have intensified. To express her and the country’s affection for India, Bachelet quoted Rabindranath Tagore.

In her brief speech accepting the banquet Patil hosted in honour of Bachelet Tuesday, the Chilean president addressed the former as “dear friend”.

“Thou has made me known to friends whom I knew not. Thou has given me seats in homes not my own. Thou has brought the distant near and made a brother of the stranger,” Bachelet said, quoting Tagore to express her country’s admiration for India.

In the speech that ended thanking Patil in Hindi, Bachelet said: “I am fully convinced that by the time you leave us, President Patil, our countries and our people will be little closer and a little more united in our shared objective of looking for a more prosperous, fair and inclusive future.”

The leaders shared an extremely warm body language during their first official meeting Monday in the presidential palace La Moneda here.

Patil also talked about the “personal rapport” she has developed with her Chilean counterpart.

“As two women presidents, I believe we have established a close personal rapport and an empathy that is based on shared experiences, concerns and values,” Patil said.

At the state dinner hosted by her for Patil Monday, Bachelet recalled Chilean poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda’s words for India: “India, nurture your youth and summon your clocks to tell the time that is to come.”

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