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The First State Dinner: President Obama Welcomes His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh of India
November 24, 2009
02:54 PM EDT
In honor of the arrival of His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, and his wife, Mrs. Gursharan Kaur, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will hold the first official State Dinner of the Presidency. The event promises to be a celebration of President Obama’s deep respect for India and its people, setting the tone for a long-lasting relationship between the nations.
Earlier today during the Arrival Ceremony, President Obama spoke of the enduring bonds shared by the US and India, and looked forward to continued cooperation rooted in strong democratic values:
And as the world's largest democracies, we can keep faith with our common values -- speaking out and standing up for the rights and dignity to which all human beings are entitled; and showing that nations that respect the rights and aspirations of their people are ultimately more stable, more secure and more successful.
This is the India that America welcomes today -- a leader in Asia and around the world. (Applause.) These are the challenges we are summoned to meet in partnership. This is the progress that is possible -- today and in the days and years ahead.
And, Mr. Prime Minister, as we build our common future, we can draw strength from our shared past. For it was exactly 60 years ago, in a ceremony not unlike this, that an American president welcomed to the White House the first prime minister of an independent India. And while the decades that followed were not without their challenges, the spirit of that first visit is with us today -- the same sense of possibility, the same hope for the future.
The State Dinner will be streamed live at 8:15 PM EST, so make sure to tune in.