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Focus on expansion of Indo-US ties: PM to NRIs

Singh said he was confident that the Indian-American community would continue to support India's national priorities and goals.

india Updated: Sep 16, 2005 09:25 IST

Paying glowing tributes to the Indian-American community, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked it to focus its energies on expansion and further development of Indo-US ties to enable this to become one of the principal relationships of the world.

In a speech that drew frequent applause, Singh said he was confident that the Indian-American community would continue to support India's national priorities and goals.

The Prime Minister was speaking at a reception hosted by Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen for the Indian-American community in New York on Thursday.

Expressing sympathy and sorrow over the devastation caused by hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and nearby areas, the Prime Minister said India contributed $5 million as a humanitarian gesture.

"I am confident the Indian community and professional organisations are in the forefront of efforts to help the affected families," he said.

Singh lauded the role of Indian-Americans in research work in India in the past 15 years.

He pointed out that India still had to provide basic necessities for many of its people while improving the quality of life for the rest.

The Prime Minister said "there is a mood of optimism in India today. Those of you who have visited India recently will have sensed."

This, he said, had led to India attracting highly favourable attention globally.

"One of my objectives during this visit, and indeed in most other visits, is to infuse confidence in the global investment community in its approach towards India," Singh said.

In his interaction with a large number of American CEOs, he said he found among them what appeared to be a very promising assessment of India's prospects.

"It is not only our achievements and potential in the economic field that has raised India's image abroad.

"The significance of India as a working, functioning democracy under most challenging conditions is increasingly appreciated worldwide," the Prime Minister said.

People abroad, Singh said, marvel at India's ability to set aside diversity and differences. They are astonished at India's capability to conduct elections on such a large scale. They are struck by the smooth transfer of power at various levels. "They see in our pluralist democracy the best defence against terror."

"We Indians," he said, "take our democracy for granted as do most Americans, but looking at the rest of the world, there is much that can be learnt from our examples."

The Prime Minister said just as developed economies help others in transition, so can developed democracies strengthen institutions in countries that are not democracies and desire assistance (to become democracies). "This is the purpose of the UN Democracy Fund which was launched on Thursday by Secretary General Kofi Annan."

The Indian community in the US, he said, has achieved such enormous success so quickly precisely because "we Indians felt at ease in another democracy both as individuals and collectively. This has led to an image of India as a responsible country. We have established our credentials in this regard" globally.

"We Indians," he said, "have acquired a reputation in the United States of being personally and professionally responsible. This image will stand us in good stead internationally."

"Your motherland thanks you for all that you have done and I am truly grateful for this opportunity to express those sentiments in person," he said

The audience included community leaders and professionals from different parts of the US.

First Published: Sep 16, 2005 09:05 IST