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Remarks Following Discussions With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India in Strelna

July 17, 2006

President Bush. Thanks for coming over this morning. It's always a pleasure to be in your company. You're one of the really true gentlemen in the international arena. And you've got a wonderful heart. I know you've been through difficult times, and America mourns the loss of innocent life as a result of the terrorist attacks.

One of the issues that we've been discussing here at the G-8 is the recent terrorist activities in the Middle East. Yesterday, in working with other members of the G-8, we cobbled together a very important statement. I'm most pleased that the leaders came together to say, "Look, we condemn violence; we honor innocent life."

However, for the first time, we've really begun to address with clarity the root causes of the conflict, the recent conflict in the Middle East, and that is terrorist activity, mainly Hizballah, that's housed and encouraged by Syria, financed by Iran, are making these moves to stop the progress of peace. We would hope that by addressing the conditions of this violence, we could get to a situation where there was calm. We're going to work hard as nations to address the root cause. Yesterday was an important statement. The reason I tell you that is that you'll find nations willing to work together for the common good here.

I also look forward to discussing with you our trade matters as well as the wonderful deal you and I negotiated. Our Congress is working on that important piece of legislation that will encourage and allow India and U.S. cooperation, and I'm optimistic that we will get that passed.

At any rate, welcome, and thank you, sir. I'd be glad for you to make some comments.

Prime Minister Singh. Mr. President, thank you very much for your words of sympathy and support in the wake of these terrible terrorist acts in Mumbai and in Srinagar. I've just been there—200 people, innocent men, women, and children, have perished, about 800 citizens injured, and when I—[inaudible]—various hospitals, it was such a moving sight, people without limbs and all this—and I'm grateful to you—you gave me help from Germany, and I deeply appreciate your generosity. Your kindness, your sympathy and support mean a great deal to me, President, personally and to our Government and to our people.

Sir, your visit to our country in March, and in the company of the First Lady, was a landmark. We have set new goalposts for working together between our two countries. And I'm glad to report to you that we are making progress in all directions. India was the idea of getting the business community of our two countries engaged. You suggested we set up a CEOs forum. That forum is very active. It has produced a number of good ideas. We'll follow it up by an investors' summit towards the end of the year.

Sir, India is still very largely an agricultural country; 65 percent of all people live on land. And the initiative that you took, and that was also your ideas and knowledge initiative to usher in a second green revolution in our country. We have now agreed on a roadmap. We have identified sectors like agricultural education, food processing, water management—[inaudible]—as the key areas which will be the focus of this agriculture initiative. It means a great deal to us, to build a new trust to agricultural innovation, agricultural productivity. And I thank you for active support.

In science and technology also, Mr. President, we have now agreed to work together and invite national—[inaudible]—in science and technology. The coordinators have been appointed. They have no outline, a roadmap. And I am very happy that both our administrations are working very hard to give concrete meaning and substance to our cooperation.

And I thank you, Mr. President, for your efforts and Secretary Rice's effort in getting the legislation with regard to nuclear cooperation moving through the Congress. We have followed very intensely what has been written into these bills. And I must confess to you that while we deeply appreciate your personal involvement, Secretary Rice's magnificent efforts when she appeared before the Congress—there are some concerns which worry us and, we believe, our Parliament. And like you, we are a democracy; we have a Parliament which is very jealous of what we do and what we don't do. And we have—these concerns are made, and I sincerely hope that we can find constructive solutions to all these problems. So this truly is landmark cooperation.

I recall it—I said to you that, Mr. President, that this is a—[inaudible]—conciliation of India and the U.S.—[inaudible].

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:11 a.m. in Cottage Nine at the Konstantinovsky Palace Complex.

George W. Bush, Remarks Following Discussions With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India in Strelna Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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