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PM had a calm and serene effect on Bush

September 26, 2008 21:25 IST
Last Updated: September 26, 2008 21:39 IST

With the financial meltdown in the US gripping his administration, President George W Bush [Images] told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] that the one person he wanted to spend time with was the Indian leader for his calming and serene effect.

Bush's thoughts in this regard came around when the Prime Minister expressed gratitude to the President that in the middle of all his pre-occupation with the financial situation he found time and that they had spent the time together during a meeting at the White House.

President Bush said in return that in the middle of all this, the one person he wanted to spend time with was the Prime Minister for his calming and serene effect, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told newsmen.

              India loves you, PM tells Bush

The issue of financial crisis itself has come out on most occasions due to the Prime Minister's background for being such a renowned economist with a lot of experience.

 Menon said that the Prime Minister is the first to say himself that he does not think there are any simple answers to deal with the financial crisis.

Singh told Bush what he thought about the crisis when it came up in passing. The issue had also come up during Singh's discussions with World Bank President Robert Zoellick in New York where they went into much more details about the role of multilateral organisations in dealing with and giving warning about such crises before they happen.

Menon said in India's view the financial crisis is already affecting growth in developing countries and other economies.

"That for us is bad effect because when it starts affecting people who cannot afford to take a cut then it becomes a serious global issue."

Bush appreciates PM's briefing   

The resurgence of Taliban [Images] in Afghanistan and tribal regions of Pakistan figured prominently in talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W Bush with indications of a convergence of approach on how to deal with the looming threat to the world community.

"I thank you for your advice on a range of matters. I appreciated very much your briefing on the neighbourhood in which you live. It's very informative and it helps me make decisions and formulate policy," Bush said during a joint press interaction with Singh at the Oval office in the White House.

Bush's remarks pointed to the vastly changed equation in the Indo-US strategic relations since the days of Cold War when Pakistan was considered a close ally of America which used it as a counter to India.

It also indicated a shift in the focus of the US-led war against terror from Iraq to the Afghan frontier.

Briefing reporters on the Singh-Bush meeting, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said the two leaders touched issues of regional importance, including the need to continue support to Afghanistan's transformation into a peaceful society and to free the region from terrorism.

Bush's comments on the "briefing on the neighbourhood" comes just hours after Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari addressed the UN general Assembly, expressing Pakistan's "determination" to fight terrorism. 

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