India is a fantastic, amazing country: Bush
New Delhi, Mar 2 (UNI) Describing India as an ''amazing and fantastic'' nation, US President George Bush today said he was ''proud'' to be in a country which was a shining example of pluralism where people co-existed in peace.
Talking to reporters after a half-an-hour meeting with nine prominent leaders representing five religions, Mr Bush said that during the conversation he realised that India recognised the importance of religions and the people following different faiths.
India also believed in discussing ''thoughts and views that are deep in their (religions') hearts,'' he said.
Pointing to the leaders seated on either side, Mr Bush said they were from different places of India and followed different faiths, but were also proud of their nationality and being Indians.
India was a shining example where people lived in peace despite following different faiths and speaking different languages, he said.
''We had a very important discussion about the role of religion not only in India'' but elsewhere in the world in fostering peace among people.
''I am proud to be in India,'' he said.
The meeting, which gave a touch of spirituality to the packed engagement of Mr Bush, was attended among others by former Ambassador to the UK, L M Singhvi, who represented the Jain community and Swami Agnivesh.
The meeting was held on the 18th floor of Maurya Sheraton Hotel where the President would be staying during his three-day visit.
This was followed by call-ons by Leader of Opposition L K Advani and Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Among other religious leaders who met the visiting dignitary were Mohammed Ammar Rizvi, a Shia leader from Lucknow, Doboom Tulku, a Buddhist monk and scholar from Tibet house, Tarlochan Singh and Syed Zafar Mahmood, an advisor to the government and member of the Sachar committee looking into the socio-economic status of Muslims in India.
James Massey, a prominent Dalit scholar, Dominique Emmanuel, spokesperson for the Catholic Archdiocese of Delhi, and Acharya Sri Vasa Goswami from the Sri Chaitanya Sansthan also attended the meeting.
UNI SN RP HT1808