PM-Obama deep bonding visible once again (Lead)

November 8th, 2010 - 5:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Nov 8 (IANS) Their “warmth” for each other was once again visible for all to see on Monday when both Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting US President Barack Obama could not stop gushing about each other.

Infact, Manmohan Singh went as far as saying that the discussions between them have led to a “meeting of minds.”

While Manmohan Singh described Obama as a “charismatic leader” and “a sincere and valued friend”, the US president in turn said the Indian prime minister was a “man with extraordinary intellect and great integrity”.

The first to start was, of course, Manmohan Singh.

“I am delighted to welcome President Obama and his gracious wife on their first visit to our country,” he said in his opening remarks at their joint press conference here.

“I welcome the president as a personal friend and a great charismatic leader who has made a deep imprint on world affairs through his inclusive vision of peace, security and welfare for all people and all nations,” Manmohan Singh added.

“The president and the first lady have made an abiding impression on the people of India with their warmth, with their grace and with their commitment to promoting relationship between our two great democracies,” he further said.

“President Obama is a sincere and a valued friend of our country and our discussions have led to a meeting of minds,” Manmohan Singh added.

Obama, in his opening remarks, thanked his “friends Prime Minister Singh and his lovely wife Mrs. Kaur” and for their “graciousness and a wonderful dinner” on Sunday at their official residence at 7 Race Course Road.

He also called prime minister “a man with extraordinary intellect and great integrity”.

But then, the prime minister went beyond mere platitudes. In a rare gesture, Manmohan Singh, along with his wife Gursharan Kaur, was at hand at the Delhi airport Sunday to receive Obama and his wife as they arrived from Mumbai on the second leg of their four-day India visit.

As Obama alighted from Air Force One, he warmly hugged Manmohan Singh and pecked Gursharan Kaur on the cheek. On her part, Michelle Obama pecked both Manmohan Singh and Gursharan Kaur on the cheek.

The bonhomie continued at Monday’s joint press conference. As it ended and the two leaders were walking off the dais, Obama paused, his arm around Manmohan Singh and waved to the assembled journalists as the photographers and the electronic media clamoured for more.

Manmohan Singh, 78, and Obama, 49, are known to share a special chemistry and have praised each other on the six occasions they have met so far. Obama hosted the first state dinner of his presidency for Manmohan Singh in Washington Nov 24 last year.

In turn, Manmohan Singh hosted a “private dinner” for the Obamas at his 7 Race Course Road residence Sunday, an event the US president described as “wonderful”.

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