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PM personally greets Bush. That's ok!

Surfers say those opposing the gesture are a bunch of "out of work" politicians.

india Updated: Mar 03, 2006 17:40 IST

We asked our surfers what they thought of Prime Minister rushing to Palam airport base to receive President Bush. This after BJP said the UPA Govt had broken protocol and damaged the country's self-respect.

For one, surfers seemed genuinely surprised that BJP chose to pick on such a trivial issue. Many insisted that "out of office" BJP and the rest "out of work" politicians had nothing better to do. Hence the noises.

Many others said it was in the Indian culture to accord special attention to a visitor (read atithi devo bhava) while still others praised Dr Manmohan Singh's gesture insisting it was smart diplomacy.

It showed India's keenness to forge a lasting alliance with the United States. Yet many countered BJP by saying that had they been in power they would have done just the same.

Here's how it went.

The 'Yes' club

Vikram from St Louis, US felt, "India is a great nation. We believe in welcoming our guests with open arms. I do not think that the PM did anything wrong. I think that US and India should be natural allies. Petty issues like this should not even be discussed with the big picture in mind."

Dr Sandeep Singh Gill from Texas, US put it rather well.

"I think that it was quite pragmatic and an appropriate step for the CEO of India to personally greet the President of the United States.

"Dr Manmohan Singh is a visionary who wants India to grow. One aspect of this is the ability to effectively nurture the right strategic and a symbiotic relationship with the largest and most powerful country ever i.e. the United States.

"The personal meeting of the two executives is most appropriate for the national interests of the two nations.

"It is imperative that India and the United States think beyond their past differences. They need to grow and strengthen their relationships and bring the N-deal to fruition."

He added that criticism for the sake of criticism is anything but constructive.

AT Kumar from US too said it was the work of jobless politicians.

"It was a good gesture on the part of the Prime Minister to receive President Bush on his arrival in India. BJP and Left parties are a bunch of immature 'out of job' politicians indulging in cheap shots."

Devarajan from Chennai added that all BJP wanted to do is oppose UPA.

"PM Manmohan Singh did the right thing. BJP wants to oppose any action of the Government. They are unable to understand that people have voted them out because of wrong governance."

Point!

CV Purushothaman from Morehead, US was all for Bush. He cited an example of how Bush was, in fact, pro-India.

"I am amazed at the statement of the BJP. President George Bush single-handedly has done more for India than any other foreign leader ever. The basis of the current prosperity in our country is the result of his bold policies. During the election when senator Kerry was shouting against outsourcing to India he had the courage of conviction to defend it. A nuclear Iran is not a threat to US or Europe."

Umesh from Melbourne said it was in India's culture to welcome guests.

"I do not see anything wrong. It is in our Indian culture that we receive our good friends at the gate when they arrive at your doorsteps. America is a good friend. The IT economy is an example."

Certainly not one for the Bush bashers club, Hemant Shah from Arcadia, United States said President Bush deserves respect.

"Not at all! President Bush is the leader of the country that is leader in science and technology, is most advanced economically, is most powerful militarily, is world's second largest democracy and has population which is very diversified, upholds many of the principles that we as Indians do. If Mr Bush is not accorded this courtesy, I wonder who would qualify."

Ravinder Rehsi from Ontario, Canada said PM was only adding a personal touch.

"Prime Minister's decision to receive Mr Bush personally is totally driven by personal diplomacy and I believe there is nothing wrong in it."

Voices of dissent

It wasn't as if there weren't opposing voices. Those against the gesture insisted it amounted to being supine and submissive. And it did cause damage to India's self-respect.

"Bush wouldn't do that for anyone. More than compromising the nation's self-respect, I think this only shows that India is not ready and confident enough to have its place in the world. Getting carried away is a sign of weakness," said Mayank Asthana from Sydney.

Delhi's Naren felt India should not trust US just so easily. He felt United States was nobody's friend.

"Yes. Nehru pawned this country to foreigners, a legacy that must go. You don't have to be emotional when dealing with emissaries of death, including their own people.

"US has never been anybody's friend and definitely not of India which should not be forgotten. We should learn from our mistakes if not others and Hindi-Chini bhai bhai episode.

"US is the biggest arms dealer that looks for an easy prey when its arms stock piles up and nothing else is relevant for the US."

"Would George Bush go to Andrews Air Force Base to receive Manmohan Singh?" added Dipen Shah from San Francisco, United States.

Ram Sethuraman from Mississauga, Canada felt Indians were very gullible, taken in by little attention, too easily.

"This is the problem with us, Indians. When someone praises us, we fall for them without thinking whether it is for real and what do we get or lose out of it."

However, there were those for whom a departure from protocol was hardly a concern. Their policy: what's good for India is good for them; protocol or no protocol.

BS Murty from Bangalore put it well.

"No. For Indians, what is good to India is utmost important. What happens in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan are not important to me. I'm with anybody who works for improvement in our per capita income, standard of living of the people and proper distribution of wealth. I'm against in licenses, permit and quota raj, reservation raj, union raj… I am also against all politicians who do not earn their livelihood but give speeches only."

Atul Saxena from Tarrytown, US said, "It does not matter to me, if you give respect to someone, you will get it back. BJP is short sighted and their vision is limited. I remember BJP leaders mentioned earlier that they made India a global IT power, it is baseless. I will say citizens of India are making India as global IT power or regional power, not the BJP."

Overall, surfersappreciate Dr Manmohan Singh for a good job.