The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 18, 2005

President, Indian Prime Minister Singh Exchange Toasts
The State Dining Room

President's Remarks

      Official Visit of the Prime Minister of India

8:07 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Prime Minister, Mrs. Kaur, Laura and I are honored to welcome you to the White House. It is a great privilege to have you here, along with our distinguished guests tonight.

India and the United States are separated by half the globe. Yet, today our two nations are closer than ever before. The ties that bind us are enriched by the hundreds of thousands of Americans of Indian origin. These citizens contribute a lot to America's vitality. Today, these Americans are leaders in their professions in business and science, in space exploration and technology, and in many other fields. And the United States is a better place because of the thousands of students who come here from India to study in our universities.

Today, our two nations are bound by our common interests. Our trading partnership has grown dramatically in recent years, which brings greater prosperity and opportunity to citizens of both our countries. America and India also understand the danger of global terrorism, which has brought grief to our nations, and united us in our desire to bring peace and security to the world.

Above all, India and the United States are bound together by common values. As two strong, diverse democracies, we share a commitment to the success of multi-ethnic democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law. And we believe that by spreading the blessings of democracy and freedom, we will ensure lasting peace for our own citizens and for the world.

Last year, Mr. Prime Minister, you said that the best is yet to come in the relationship between India and the United States. The good meetings we have had today demonstrate your foresight. America looks forward to working even more closely with India in the coming years to spread prosperity and freedom and peace.

And so tonight, Mr. Prime Minister, as we celebrate the friendship of our two nations, I offer a toast to you, to your gracious wife, and to the great people of India.

(A toast is offered.)

PRIME MINISTER SINGH: Your Excellency, Mr. President; Madam First Lady, Mrs. Laura Bush; distinguished ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure for me, Mr. President, to thank you and your gracious wife, not merely on behalf of my wife and myself, but on behalf of the people of India as a whole. The generosity of your hospitality is only exceeded by the generosity of your spirit. I have often heard of the warm benefactions of the American people. But when one feels it with such intensity, it is truly heartwarming. And I thank you for that.

Bernard Shaw had once described America and England as two countries divided by one language. But this once held true for India and America, as well. I believe, Mr. President, that our two countries must try to ally with a common lexicon and a shared framework of reference in looking at the rest of the world, for I sincerely believe there is truly very much that we have in common. However, if in the recent past, our communication has been better and clearer, Mr. President, a great deal of this credit must go to you.

Mr. President, we are truly indebted to you for your sustained support to the transformation of the India-U.S. relationship. I have found my visit to your great country to be a highly rewarding experience. The joint statement we have issued today highlights some key priority areas for expanded cooperation in the future. We look forward to working with you to realize our common aspirations in the months and years that lie ahead.

Mr. President, India and the United States are great nations and great democracies. We cherish the openness of our societies and of our economies. We value our pluralism, our diversity, and our freedoms. These shared values that bring us together must be more visible not only in how we deal with each other, but also in our approach to the world at large. We must strengthen democratic capacities jointly. We must oppose the evil of terrorism together. To meet such vital challenges, we must be together on the same page. We must speak the same language and display the same resolve.

Mr. President, I look forward to your visiting India with Mrs. Bush, and with the great pleasure of extending our hospitality to you.

Mark Twain had once said that the only foreign land he ever dreamt about or deeply longed to see was India. We have all grown up learning the story of the unfinished voyage of Christopher Columbus. Setting sails to reach India, he discovered America. (Laughter.) I now invite the people of America to complete the voyage of that great explorer. (Applause.)

Mr. President, I, myself, come to the United States with a fond belief that what we do together, India and the United States can make a significant contribution to global peace and prosperity. Indeed, the contribution that the 2 million strong Indian-American community is making every sphere of activities in this great country is one indicator of the vast, untapped potential in our bilateral relationships.

Mr. President; First Lady, Mrs. Laura Bush; ladies and gentlemen: Today has been a day well spent and this is a meal well shared. We are happy to break bread with you, Mr. President and First Lady, in friendship.

Ladies and gentlemen, I now invite you to join me in a toast to the health and happiness of President George Bush and the First Lady, Mrs. Laura Bush, the friendly people of the United States of America, and to the success of all that we are endeavoring to do through this visit to open a new chapter in our relationship.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)

END 8:17 P.M. EDT

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