Obama’s presence at R-Day demonstrates growing ties: Mukherjee

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee said today that the presence of US President Barack Obama at the Republic Day parade will demonstrate to the world the growing ties of friendship and trust that bind the two democracies closely.

In his banquet speech in honour of Obama, who is on a three-day state visit, and his wife Michelle, the president said Obama had made history thrice-over by becoming the first US president to be chief guest at the Republic Day, the first US president to visit India twice while in office, and by holding a second summit-level meeting with the prime minister in the shortest-ever time span of four months.

“These milestones make this a truly historical visit. While I am proud that we are creating history together, I am even more pleased that we are creating a brighter future together – for our two countries and the world,” he said.

Mukherjee said the relationship between India and the US is a special one because “it is a relationship forged in the hearts and minds of our two people, in the commercial ties between our two businesses, in the exchanges between our two scientists and engineers and in the enduring linkages between hundreds of our institutions”.

“This is one relationship where the two governments can rightfully take pride in acknowledging that they have successfully put in place a ‘Strategic Partnership’ simply by following the lead shown by their people!”

He said while both countries are collaborating in practically every sphere of human activity, but the relationship “has infinite potential, there is so much more that we can and should do”.

Mukherjee said he was glad that the two countries are deepening strategic, security and defence cooperation to make our two countries, the region and the world a safer place.