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New Delhi, India Remarks of the President at the Ramlila Grounds.

January 01, 1978

Happy New Year everybody. I bring you warm New Year's greetings from the people of the United States. I am moved and pleased by the size and the warmth of your welcome. It is a stirring testimony to the common values which have always bound together the Indian people and the people of America.

I am particularly pleased with the presence of the mayor and of your Prime Minister Desai. I know him to be a man of uncompromising dedication to personal and also public morality. Both he and I share with the people of India and the people of my country a deep religious faith.

Interest in my family in your great country of India runs very deep because of my mother's years of service here with you and because of her love for the Indian people. Being here with my wife fulfills a longstanding ambition of mine to visit your great country and your great people. I particularly want to learn about your country and to learn from your country the greatness of India, the culture of India, and your views on the problems with which we all must deal together.

We want the other peoples of the world to benefit from our consultation, our friendship, our standard of moral values, and our hope for world peace. The most important bond between India and the United States is our emphasis on the questions and the commitments of the spirit.

It is to be expected that the world's two greatest and largest democracies are bound together with a profound commitment to the importance of moral values. Our creeds and our religions differ in some ways, but we agree that all faiths be granted equal respect. Both nations are certain that a concern with matters of morals and the spirit is closely connected with the strength of our own democratic political systems.

My own Nation is built on firm and fundamental beliefs. We believe that governments exist to protect the freedom and the well-being of the people. We believe that there are individual rights which have a higher claim than powers of governments. We believe that every human being is entitled to certain basic rights-a right to choose one's own government, a right to worship one's own God, a right to think and to speak one's own mind freely, a right to live where one chooses, a right to learn and to be taught, a right to work, to raise a family, and to eat so as to be strong in mind and body, a right to be cared for with skill and tenderness when ill.

On these human rights can a world of justice be built, and toward these ends the people of America and the people of India must always work together.

May God's blessings and peace be with you all. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 4:45 p.m. Following his remarks the President and Prime Minister M. R. Desai went to the Rashtrapati Bhavan for a meeting.

Jimmy Carter, New Delhi, India Remarks of the President at the Ramlila Grounds. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244506

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