Former US President Barack Obama has released the first of his two-part memoir, A Promised Land. Apart from his experiences in America as the President, Obama has also shared his thoughts and interactions with world leaders. He writes at length about speaks at length about his interest in India, Mahatma Gandhi’s life and his relationship with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whom he calls a man of “uncommon wisdom and decency.”
While describing his interactions with Singh during his first India visit in November 2010, Obama says he had developed a “warm and productive” relationship with the former Prime Minster.
“A gentle, soft-spoken economist in his seventies, with a white beard and a turban that were the marks of his Sikh faith but to the Western eye lent him the air of a holy man, he had been India’s finance minister in the 1990s, managing to lift millions of people from poverty. For the duration of his tenure as Prime Minister, I would find Singh to be wise, thoughtful, and scrupulously honest,” he wrote.
View this post on Instagram
“While he [Mr. Singh] could be cautious in foreign policy, unwilling to get out too far ahead of an Indian bureaucracy that was historically suspicious of U.S. intentions, our time together confirmed my initial impression of him as a man of uncommon wisdom and decency; and during my visit to the capital city of New Delhi, we reached agreements to strengthen U.S. cooperation on counterterrorism, global health, nuclear security, and trade,” added Obama.
Obama also wrote about how Singh’s popularity decreased after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, due to his “restraint” against Pakistan.
“He [Mr. Singh] feared that rising anti-Muslim sentiment had strengthened the influence of India’s main opposition party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),” Mr. Obama writes, going on to quote Mr. Singh: “‘In uncertain times, Mr. President,’ the Prime Minister said, ‘the call of religious and ethnic solidarity can be intoxicating. And it’s not so hard for politicians to exploit that, in India or anywhere else.’”