Considerate Manmohan wanted to shorten meeting with Bush!

September 28th, 2008 - 10:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghOn Board the PM’s Special Aircraft, Sep 28 (IANS) With the US political establishment preoccupied with the financial meltdown, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not want to impose himself on his American host and wanted to shorten his meeting with President George W. Bush Thursday, it was revealed Sunday. Official sources privy to the discussions between the two leaders Sunday disclosed that as the prime minister landed in Washington, he was under the impression that he might be imposing himself on Bush at a time when he was busy with selling a $700-billion bailout package to save Wall Street from collapse.

He asked National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan to inquire from his American counterpart Steve Hadley whether the meeting needed to be shortened. Hadley reassured the Indian side that Bush found himself in the “most congenial” company when the Indian prime minister was around.

“You are such a calming influence,” a senior official recalled Bush telling Manmohan Singh as he welcomed the Indian leader in the White House in the midst of a looming financial emergency.

“I can’t think of meeting any other (leader) at this point of time,” Bush said with a lot of affection which underlined the personal chemistry they struck with the historic July 18, 2005 civil nuclear understanding.

In a freewheeling discussion, which was more like a feast of ideas, the two leaders also exchanged notes on the Tibetan leader Dalai Lama whom they both hold in high esteem.

In the midst of the worst financial meltdown to hit the US in recent times, the one person Bush wanted to spend time with was Manmohan Singh who always had a “calming and serene effect” on him, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon had said in New York after talks between the two leaders.

Manmohan Singh profusely thanked his American host for finding the time to spend with him and host a dinner for him at the White House in the middle of his pre-occupation with the financial situation.

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