India gets her due!

On Mar 3, 2006, President George Bush of America made a speech on the grounds of Purana Qila in Delhi (built by Sher Sha Suri and used by Humayun) – a day after signing a historic accord for civilian nuclear cooperation with India. Here, I quote parts of the speech which I thought were very well worded (source: The White House)

"Over the past two days we’ve been grateful for your kind reception, touched by your warm hospitality, and dazzled by this vibrant and exciting land. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the Indian people. I’m honored to bring the good wishes and the respect of the world’s oldest democracy to the world’s largest democracy. Tonight we stand on the ruins of an ancient city that was the capital of an Indian kingdom thousands of years ago. Today it is part of a modern Asian city that is the capital of one of the world’s great nations. At the heart of a civilization that helped give the world mathematics, cutting-edge businesses now give us the technology of tomorrow. In the birthplace of great religions, a billion souls of varied faiths now live side-by-side in freedom and peace. When you come to India in the 21st century, you’re inspired by the past, and you can see the future. India in the 21st century is a natural partner of the United States because we are brothers in the cause of human liberty. Yesterday, I visited a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, and read the peaceful words of a fearless man. His words are familiar in my country because they helped move a generation of Americans to overcome the injustice of racial segregation. When Martin Luther King arrived in Delhi in 1959, he said, ‘To other countries, I may go as a tourist, but to India, I come as a pilgrim.’ I come to India as a friend." "The partnership between the United States and India has deep and sturdy roots in the values we share. Both our nations were founded on the conviction that all people are created equal and are endowed with certain fundamental rights, including freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. Those freedoms are enshrined in law through our written constitutions, and they are upheld daily by institutions common to both our democracies — an elected legislature, an independent judiciary, a loyal political opposition, and, as I know well here in India, a lively free press. " "your economy has more than doubled in size since you opened up your markets in 1991. You’ve dramatically raised the living standards of your citizens. India’s middle class now numbers 300 million people, more than the entire population of the United States." "When your Prime Minister addressed the United States Congress, he said this: ‘We must fight terrorism wherever it exists, because terrorism anywhere threatens democracy everywhere.’ He is right. And so America and India are allies in the war against terror." "India has a Hindu majority, and one of the world’s largest Muslim populations. India is also home to millions of Sikhs and Christians and other religious groups. All worship freely in temples and mosques and churches all across this great land. Indians of diverse backgrounds attend school together and work together and govern your nation together. As a multi-ethnic, multi-religious democracy, India is showing the world that the best way to ensure fairness and tolerance is to establish the rule of law. The best way to counter resentment is to allow peaceful expression. The best way to honor human dignity is to protect human rights. For every nation divided by race, religion or culture, India offers a hopeful path: If justice is the goal, then democracy is the way." "The world has benefitted from the example of India’s democracy, and now the world needs India’s leadership in freedom’s cause. As a global power, India has an historic duty to support democracy around the world." "In a few days, I’ll return to America, and I will never forget my time here in India. America is proud to call your democracy a friend. We’re optimistic about your future. The great Indian poet Tagore once wrote, ‘There’s only one history — the history of man.’ The United States and India go forward with faith in those words. There’s only one history of man — and it leads to freedom. May God bless India. "

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