| Singh: Cloud on 'milestone'
New Delhi, Nov. 4: The Prime Minister took the opportunity of George W. Bush's re-election as US President to invite him to India but the CPI ruled out any 'positive impact' of the Republican victory on bilateral ties.
'A visit by you, Mr President, to India would be a milestone in our relations,' Manmohan Singh said today in his congratulatory message to Bush. 'I hope that we will have the opportunity to welcome you in India very soon.'
In his first term, Bush had not visited India or South Asia.
But the CPI urged the government to pursue an 'independent foreign policy based on anti-imperialism, non-alignment and peace' instead of 'nurturing any illusion about the US with regard to outsourcing or any other issue'.
In a statement issued this afternoon, the party ' an outside ally of the Congress-led Centre ' predicted that Bush's re-election was 'bound to harden US policies in international affairs and in all multilateral fora'.
Singh emphasised that he looked forward to working with Bush to further strengthen the progress that the two countries had made in the last few years.
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam added his voice to the Prime Minister's. 'We are confident that under your strong leadership, our ties would continue to gain in substance and dynamism,' Kalam said.
The CPI, however, suggested that 'India and all developing nations will have to forge better unity and understanding in their own interests to safeguard political and economic sovereignty'.
The party was of the opinion that the American elections 'exposed' the 'bourgeois democracy and the two-party system in the US where the people did not have any choice worthy of mention in a democracy'.
The Prime Minister seemed to have other ideas. 'Our shared vision and common values provide an enduring base for our relations. India and the US, together and in partnership based on trust and mutual confidence, can make a positive difference on issues of global significance in this century.'
Observing that bilateral ties had undergone 'qualitative transformation' because of Bush's 'personal commitment and efforts', Singh said: 'We must embark on a larger and a more ambitious agenda for broader strategic cooperation; high technology, commerce and defence hold a particular promise in this regard.'
He also pointed out that all countries have a stake in the early return of a democratic Iraq to the international mainstream and expressed his government's readiness to help in the country's elections early next year.
Singh said a major goal of both countries 'must be to continue to deny any comfort or encouragement to religious extremism or terrorism, and resolve to ensure their complete elimination as an acceptable instrument of state policy'.
He also pledged India's full support to combat terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to strengthen international peace and security.