Parting gift! Obama showers praise on Manmohan

Tags: News
Beleaguered out-going Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, under attack for his party’s Lok Sabha poll washout, has found support in ‘true friend and admirer’, US President Barack Obama.

President Obama’s encomiums on Manmohan Singh for ‘his visionary leadership’ have come at a time when the soft-spoken Singh is virtually fading into the sunset.

The US President in his letter earlier this week to Manmohan Singh appreciated his singular dedication to tackle poverty in India through economic reforms. He also hailed Singh for transforming India into a global leader.

According to the Congr­ess manifesto released during the poll campaign, 14 crore people had been pulled out of poverty during the decade-long Manmohan Singh regime. After the Congress debacle, several leaders like party general secretary Digvijay Singh ha­ve either directly or indi­r­e­ctly held Manmohan Sin­gh responsible for not convincingly taking the party’s ‘development plank’ to people.

The quiet and suave Singh made no attempt to ward off these barbs. At the last week’s Congress Working Committee (CWC), he took the blame on himself even as the party tried to persuade Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to withdraw their resignations.

President Obama has described Singh as one of the few public leaders whom he “admired” and would “miss” working with on a “day-to-day basis”.

The US president also credited Singh’s dedication to strengthen Indo-US strategic relations. It was during Singh’s tenure that the civil nuclear power deal was finalised. During Obama’s visit to India in November 2010, the deal was finally sealed. Accordingly, US firms like Westinghouse and GE Hitachi have collaborated with Nuclear Power Corporation to set up N-power projects in India.

In fact, Singh was even willing to sacrifice his government on the deal with US in the wake of opposition by Left parties and resistance from UPA partners.

A PMO statement quoted Obama as saying, “I have tremendous gratitude for the critical role you have played in defining and expanding the strategic partnership between India and the US.” Obama said during Singh’s 10 years in office, Indian and US ties spread across trade, defence, investments and clean energy technologies.

Indo-US trade has grown to nearly $100 billion while investments have touched $30 billion. In fact, US is one of the few countries where India enjoyed a trade surplus of over $20 billion in 2013. Obama gave all credit to Singh for the fight against terrorism, proliferation of weapons and promoting peace in Afghanistan.

At the Pittsburgh summit of G-20 leaders in September 2009, Obama described Singh as “the wisest” man and one who world leaders looked upon for “advice” to tackle the global meltdown. “I am proud that the US could play a role in your efforts to build a dynamic, prosperous nation, which I believe will bring great benefit to our countries and the world,” Obama said.

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