Praising the statesmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the rise of India, U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday said he was “looking forward” and “excited” about visiting India with First Lady Michelle later this year.

Personally thanking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and wife Gurcharan Kaur for their friendship, Mr. Obama also hoped his visit to India — scheduled for the early part of November — would be extremely productive for the two sides.

“It is a trip that I’m very much looking forward to,” said Mr. Obama, before holding talks with Dr. Singh after the conclusion of the G20 Summit that also saw the convergence of views expressed by India and the U.S.

“We are also just excited because of the tremendous cultural, as well as political and social and economic examples, that India is providing the world and has in the past,” said the U.S. president.

Mr. Obama, particularly, had a lot of praise for Dr. Singh.

“I can tell you that here at G20, when the prime minister speaks, people listen,” he said, adding it was because of his deep knowledge of economic issues, the nuances of India’s rise as a world power and its commitment towards global peace and prosperity.

The U.S. president also recalled that the State dinner hosted by him for Dr. Singh — the first for his presidency — was “wonderful” and that it had set the tone for India-U.S. ties that they had both termed as a strategic partnership.

“We want to make sure that in addition to government-to-government ties, we were initiating people-to-people ties,” he said, adding emphasis also remained on how to get the businesses of the two side to work together.

Dr. Singh, on his part, also praised Mr. Obama no length and said it was because of him that the strategic partnership between India and the U.S. was getting a new thrust, meaning and endeavour.

“You are a role model for millions and millions of people all over the world,” said the prime minister said of Mr. Obama, almost 30 years his junior. “Your life history is a history that inspires millions of people everywhere.”

Dr. Singh said it was his privilege to enjoy Mr. Obama’s friendship, and assured that he was waiting to welcome the US president and his family to India so that they could also see for themselves the transformations the nation was undergoing.

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