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New Delhi, India Remarks of the President and President N. S. Reddy at the Welcoming Ceremony

January 01, 1978

PRESIDENT REDDY. Mr. President, Mrs. Carter, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:

It gives me great pleasure to welcome President and Mrs. Carter and the very distinguished guests on this New Year's Day.

The year just ended saw a new burst of faith and vitality in our two democracies. The year which begins today will, we hope, open a new chapter in our relations.

Our people were greatly enthused at the visit last year of your mother, Mrs. Lillian Carter, and especially at her abiding interest in the little community of Vikhroli, which she served with great dedication some years ago.

Today in welcoming you, we welcome not only the President of the United States but also a great humanist, a man of ideals, and one who has brought to international politics the nobility of moral imperatives.

Much has happened in our two countries since the last visit of an American President to India. It is a happy coincidence that governments in Washington and New Delhi changed almost at the same time. Shared values in terms of democracy and the dignity of the individual have worked for a free and easy dialog between the people and the governments of our two countries.

As mature, independent nations our countries have had differences in priorities and policies, which have often clouded the common ideals and deep affinities which bind us. Neither of our countries has been indifferent to the great challenges which confront the world as a whole. We believe that our goals are the same—a world of peace, justice, and liberty for individuals and nations.

The United States has long interested itself and cooperated with us in our own developmental balance. We believe that a closer and more confident relationship can be of mutual benefit and in turn contribute to serve the cause of building bridges of cooperation between the developed and developing countries.

We hope, Mr. President, that this visit, however short, will provide an opportunity for frank and free discussions and become a catalyst for establishing a clear rapport and understanding between the leaders of our two governments.

But even this brief visit will, I am confident, give you an opportunity to get a feel of the warmth of friendship which the people of India have for the people of the United States.

On behalf of the people and government of India and on my own behalf, allow me to wish you a very pleasant and fruitful stay in Delhi and a Happy New Year.

PRESIDENT CARTER. President and Mrs. Reddy, Prime Minister Desai, distinguished members of the leading group in India, diplomatic members, and people of this great country:

I'm certainly delighted to begin my own new year by coming here to India to make new friends. My mother, who loves this nation and its people very deeply, has told me of the warmth and friendship of the Indian people.

She experienced it in her years of service here and, again, a few months ago in a time of sorrow when she represented me as President and the people of the United States at the funeral of your former president.

I know that I will feel at home here because of the things the United States and India have in common—the importance that we attach historically and in this present day to basic moral values; our common belief in and the daily practice of democracy; our mutual commitment to world peace and to its essential foundations; a more just political and economic order among the nations, large and small, rich and poor; our concern for helping those who are most in need, both our immediate neighbors and those who live far away from our own homes; the great size and potential and economic strength of both our nations; and our readiness on occasion, Mr. President, to criticize others, but to be even more critical of ourselves, knowing that we can always improve even the superb achievements which our people have realized.

I'm very glad to be welcomed by you, such a distinguished leader. And through our correspondence this year, I have also already come to regard Prime Minister Desai as a personal friend. Now I am happy to meet him and you personally. I know him to be a man of great courage, of rectitude and dedication.

We will have much to talk about with the government leaders of India. Both our nations know that an interdependent world requires close cooperation and consultation between the leaders every day, every year which we serve. I am certainly grateful for this opportunity to visit your great country and to learn in person about the largest democracy on Earth.

On behalf of the people of the United States, Mr. President, let me say that we are very glad to renew our friendships, to establish new ones, and to respond toward your heartfelt welcome, and also to return your wish that we both together and the entire world can have a good new year and a world at peace.
Thank you very much.

Note: The exchange began at 2:27 p.m. at Palam Airport.

Following the arrival ceremony, the President met with President Reddy at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Jimmy Carter, New Delhi, India Remarks of the President and President N. S. Reddy at the Welcoming Ceremony Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244288

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