The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 2, 2006

President Thanks Prime Minister and India at State Dinner in New Delhi
Rashtrapati Bhavan
New Delhi, India

President's Remarks

      President's Visit to India and Pakistan

8:45 P.M. (Local)

PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. President, Prime Minister and distinguished guests, Laura and I thank you for such a warm welcome. It's a wonderful dinner tonight. We're grateful for your hospitality, and we appreciate the opportunity to visit your beautiful country.

It is home to a proud civilization. Thousands of years ago the people of this region built great cities, established trading routes with distant lands, and created wonders of art and architecture. Its reputation for wealth and wisdom attracted many brave explorers -- one of them never did complete his journey and he ended up in America.

Like India, America respects faith and family and is rich in diversity. Americans are proud that our nation is home to more than 2 million individuals of Indian descent. Both our nations can take pride in their achievements. People from India serve with distinction in American businesses, in the sciences and the arts. The contributions of our Indian American community have made America a better nation and they've helped strengthen our ties with India.

The relationship between our two nations is strong and it rests on a firm foundation. We share common interests rooted in common belief that freedom can change lives and transform nations. Today our two democracies have formed a strategic partnership to bring the benefits of liberty to others, to expand global prosperity through free and fair trade, and to confront the challenges of our time. As great nations, we now have an opportunity to lead, and America values the leadership of the great nation of India.

Mr. President, again, Laura and I express our deepest heartfelt thanks. It's my honor now to toast to you, sir, and to the great nation of India.

(A toast is offered.)

END 8:47 P.M. (Local)

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