Obama considers India and Manmohan Singh 'part of his family'

Obama considers India and Manmohan Singh 'part of his family'

As White House gears up to host Singh on November 24, Obama told eminent Indian-American leader Sant Chatwal that he considers India and the Prime Minister "as part of his family".

"This is the reason why I decided to invite Manmohan Singh, who I admire a lot, on the first State Visit of my presidency on the Thanks Giving Day," Obama was quoted as saying by Chatwal, who met the President along with Senator Christopher Dodd, Democratic Co-Chairman of Senate India Caucus.

"He told me that he considers India and Singh as part of his family. This is something, which we are very proud to hear from him," Chatwal said.

"The President is eagerly looking forward to hosting the Prime Minister at the White House (on November 24). He (Obama) told me that he is looking forward to building a great relationship with India. He told me that this is not just the First State Dinner, it is a family dinner," he said.

In American culture, only family members are invited for the thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November usually as a gathering of family members and friedns.
The official State Dinner on November 24 is a day before the Thanks giving Day, Chatwal said.

Chatwal said Obama told him that the visit of the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to India early this year was a very successful one.
"The US President is looking forward to building great relationship with India," he said.
Meanwhile, a top Obama Administration official yesterday termed US' relationship with India as strategic and important.

"Our relationship with India is strategic and important," asserted Ian Kelly, the State Department spokesman, at his daily news conference.

"We are conducting our assistance with Pakistan in a very open and transparent way in general, with the public, with the media and withimportant strategic partners like India," Kelly said when asked about NewDelhi’s concerns about US aid to Pakistan.