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Indians feel safe with Bush

Jan. 19: If it's hard to find what's common among India, the Philippines and Poland, look no further than George Walker Bush.

They all love the man who begins his second term in the White House after tomorrow's inauguration, shows a worldwide survey done by the BBC.

The trio is not quite in agreement with the rest of the world, the majority of whose citizens think Bush spells trouble.

Of the 21 countries surveyed, these three thought the world was safer following Bush's election win.

On average across all countries, 58 per cent of the 22,000 surveyed said they believed the world had become more dangerous.

Traditional US allies like Britain (64 per cent), France (75 per cent), and Germany (77 per cent) were among the most negative about Bush.

'This is quite a grim picture for the US,' Reuters quoted Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, as saying.

Some would say it's a 'grim picture' even in the US. Although the survey found that 56 per cent of Americans thought Bush's win was good for the world, as big a proportion as 39 per cent disagreed.

Contrast this with India, where 62 per cent believed the world would be more secure with Bush around.

The American President, who is slated to visit India this year, might find its metropolises more welcoming than, say, California. And that includes Calcutta, which shares with Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai India's love for Bush.

The BBC poll was carried out only in these mega-cities and, therefore, has a pronounced urban bias. The British broadcaster quoted its correspondent as saying that with a growth rate of over 6 per cent, many Indians feel the Bush administration is good for business.

A Democrat-run White House is often seen in India as being too tough on trade issues.

In the election campaign, when Democrat John Kerry was severely critical of outsourcing of American jobs, Bush aides described it as a fact of globalisation.

Observers also point to the terrorist threat that the two countries share.

Bush aides made well-publicised claims about persuading General Pervez Musharraf to end cross-border terrorism.

Foreign policy mandarins may or may not agree with the urban Indian view of Bush, but the current government led by the Congress is seen to be less pro-US than the one headed by the BJP.

Bill Clinton was a big hit when he came to India, so may Bush be if he can get the Prime Minister's name right.

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