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Remarks at a State Dinner Hosted by President Pratibha Devisingh Patil of India in New Delhi

November 08, 2010

Madam President, thank you for your very gracious words and for the example of your leadership that inspires so many women, as well as men, across this nation. I was observing that one of the reasons I think India is doing so well is because it has so many strong women leaders. And I want to thank you and Dr. Shekhawat for hosting us this evening and your extraordinary hospitality.

To our dear friends, Prime Minister Singh and Mrs. Kaur; to distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen: On behalf of Michelle and I, we just want to thank you for this extraordinary expression of friendship between our two nations.

I've done a lot of speaking today, so I want to be relatively brief. We've learned several things from this trip in India. We've learned that despite geographic distances between our nations, we are now closer than ever before. We've learned that although we may have traveled different paths to reach this moment in history, that we can walk towards the future together. We've also learned that no matter how hard I try, Michelle will always be a better dancer. [Laughter]

Let me say, it's been a particular pleasure to be here during Diwali. And last year during the state visit when Prime Minister Singh and Mrs. Kaur came, it was during our Thanksgiving season. And the fact that we can share some of our most meaningful holidays with each other speaks to the closeness of our countries and the values that we share as well as the common hopes for the future.

To my good friend and partner, Prime Minister Singh, from humble beginnings to high office, your life reflects all the progress and possibility of this great nation. And so all of us thank you not only for leading this nation and our partnership to new heights, but for the spirit with which you've led your life, with compassion, truth, commitment, humility, and love.

And to all who are gathered here tonight and to the people of India, for the past 3 days you've opened your country to us. Like so many before, we learned that you don't simply visit India, you experience India, in the richness of its traditions, in its diversity, the optimism and the warmth of its people.

From extraordinarily difficult circumstances, India has achieved what many thought was impossible. And in doing so, you captured the imagination of the world. Now our two nations have a chance to do what many also thought was impossible, and that is to build a global partnership in a new century.

And so I'd like to close with the words that your President spoke in this building on the day that India declared itself a republic, words describing how this diverse nation has stayed united and strong and because they speak to the spirit that binds our two countries together as well.

I propose a toast, knowing that our ties subsist because they are not of iron or steel or even of gold, but of the silken cords of the human spirit. Cheers.

NOTE: The President spoke at 9:05 p.m. at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. In his remarks, he referred to Devisingh Ransingh Shekhawat, husband of President Patil; and Gursharan Kaur, wife of Prime Minister Singh.

Barack Obama, Remarks at a State Dinner Hosted by President Pratibha Devisingh Patil of India in New Delhi Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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