[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: George W. Bush (2008, Book II)]
[September 25, 2008]
[Pages 1242-1244]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks Following a Meeting With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India
September 25, 2008

    President Bush. Mr. Prime Minister, once again, it's my honor to 
welcome you back to the Oval Office, and it will be my honor to share a 
meal with you tonight. I thank you for coming to Washington from New 
York. It's very kind of you to come. I appreciate your friendship, and I 
appreciate your leadership.

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    You and I have worked hard to change the relationship between our 
countries. India is a great country with an incredibly bright future. 
And it's in the U.S. interests to have a good, strong strategic 
relationship with India. And we've worked hard to achieve that.
    One such sign of that relationship is the India-U.S. civilian 
nuclear agreement. This has taken a lot of work on both our parts, a lot 
of courage on your part. And of course, we want the agreement to satisfy 
you and come--get out of our Congress. And so we're working hard to get 
it passed as quickly as possible.
    We talked about trade. We talked about the environment and how 
technologies will make it such that we can grow our economies and be 
good stewards of the environment.
    I'll never forget my visit to your country, Mr. Prime Minister. I 
remember telling my friends, when I got back, what an exciting place 
India is. There's a vibrancy and energy, and there's a entrepreneurial 
spirit that's very strong. And I congratulate you and your Government 
for enhancing that entrepreneurial spirit.
    I thank you for your advice on a range of matters. I appreciated 
very much your briefing on the neighborhood in which you live. It's very 
informative, and it helps me make decisions and helps me formulate 
    All in all, ours is a very strong relationship, at a state level and 
at a personal level. And I appreciate you coming.
    Prime Minister Singh. Mr. President, I know how busy you are with 
problems relating to the management of the financial crisis. That 
despite all these enormous pressures on your time, you have found it 
possible to receive me is something I deeply appreciate, deeply value. 
And the last 4\1/2\ years that I have been Prime Minister, I have been 
the recipient of your generosity, your affection, the show of your 
friendship. It means a lot to me and to the people of India.
    In these last 4\1/2\ years, there has been a massive transformation 
of India-United States relations. And, Mr. President, you have played 
the most important role in making all this happen. Your efforts towards 
cooperation with regard to civil nuclear energy, I know these were 
difficult issues, and at each stage, it was your leadership, your 
personal intervention which resolved all the difficulties that were 
affecting the progress of this negotiation.
    I sincerely hope that the settlement which is now before the U.S. 
Congress will be approved in a manner which will be satisfactory from 
the point of view of both our countries. And when history is written, I 
think it will be recorded that President George W. Bush played an 
historic role in bringing our two democracies closer to each other.
    I am mentioning civil nuclear initiative because for 34 years, India 
has suffered from a nuclear apartheid. We have not been able to trade in 
nuclear material, nuclear reactors, nuclear raw materials. And when this 
restrictive regime ends, I think a great deal of credit will go to 
President Bush. And for this I am very grateful to you, Mr. President.
    President Bush. Yes, sir.
    Prime Minister Singh. But there has been enormous transformation in 
our relationship in many other respects. The United States is India's 
largest trading partner. The United States is the largest investor in 
our country. And at President Bush's initiative, we set up a two-country 
CEOs forum which has come forward with many innovative ideas to bring 
the business communities of our two countries closer to each other.
    We have taken new initiative in the field of education. We have 
today a new architecture of bringing the academic communities of our two 
countries--the new scheme of Fulbright-Nehru Scholarship will unite the 
intellectual community of our two countries in a manner which gives me 
immense satisfaction.

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    In areas of science and technologies, in areas relating to 
environment management, in the areas relating to climate change, in 
areas relating to health, in areas relating to knowledge initiatives in 
agriculture--all of these initiatives have emerged as a result of the 
historic meeting that I had with President Bush on 18 of July of 2005. 
These are the reasons we have now a strategic partnership with the 
United States. And all that has happened has happened because of the 
strong personal commitment of the President.
    India is a functioning democracy. And I know how much President Bush 
appreciates that fact, that a country of a billion people with 
tremendous poverty, with all the diversities of the world, is yet trying 
to find its economic and social salvation in the framework of a 
functioning democracy. President Bush and I have discussed this aspect 
of India's functioning several times, and he has shown enormous respect 
for India, for Indian democracy.
    So, Mr. President, this may be my last visit to you during your 
Presidency, and let me say that--thank you very much.
    President Bush. Thank you, sir.
    Prime Minister Singh. The people of India deeply love you, and all 
that you have done to bring our two countries closer to each other is 
something history will not be able to destroy.
    President Bush. Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 6 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White