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Dr Singh 'honest', Barack Obama 'wise'

November 25, 2009 01:08 IST

US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday effusively praised each other after their first substantive meeting with the US President calling the Prime Minister a man of "honesty and integrity" who has helped unleash India's "extraordinary economic growth".

The 48-year-old American President said he respects and trusts the 77-year-old Indian prime minister as they met at the White House on the his administration's first State visit.

"I consider him a wise leader who has helped unleash India's extraordinary economic growth. He is a man of honesty and integrity. I respect him and I trust him," Obama said at the joint press conference after over two-hour long talks with Dr Singh.

"And one of the things I admire most about Dr Singh is that I think at his core he is a man of peace," the President said.

On his part, Dr Singh said in Tuesday's meeting there was a 'meeting of minds on the future direction of our relations'.

"I was deeply impressed by President Obama's strong commitment to the India-US strategic partnership and by the breadth of his vision for global peace and prosperity," the Prime Minister said.

Extending an invitation to Obama to visit India, Dr Singh said a 'very warm welcome awaits him, his gracious wife and his two daughters'.

Earlier, at the welcome ceremony, Obama said Dr Singh's is the first 'official state visit of my presidency, and it is fitting that you and India be so recognised'.

"This visit reflects the high esteem in which I and the American people hold your wise leadership. It reflects the abiding bonds of respect and friendship between our people, including our friends in the Indian American community who join us here today," he said.

"But above all, your visit, at this pivotal moment in history, speaks to the opportunity before us -- to build the relationship between our nations, born in the last century, into one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century," Obama said.

The Prime Minister said: "President, we deeply appreciate your strong personal commitment to our bilateral relationship. My wife and I are deeply grateful to you and the First Lady for receiving us during this Thanksgiving week."

Ajay Kaul in Washington
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