Manmohan Singh may be disparaged at home as weak by opposition
parties and civil society, but when the prime minister is abroad he
is a different man - brimming with confidence and transforms into
what Newsweek described as the "leader that other leaders love".
For the past few months the prime minister has been under bitter
attack from critics who accuse him of silence over corruption
scandals besieging his government.
But when he meets foreign leaders, Manmohan Singh wins praise for
his innovative economic ideas as well as his modesty and honesty.
When he speaks, they listen with rapt attention to the ideas of the
economist considered as the mastermind of the economic reforms that
set off India's economic boom.
That was evident at Sanya, in China, where he addressed the plenary
of the 3rd BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)
summit on Thursday.
"There was a pin drop silence. They listened to him with rapt
attention when he was speaking on the rapid socio-economic
transformation of the BRICS nations and those of the developing
world," said an official who travelled with the prime minister on
his five-day two-nation trip, including Kazakhstan.
The official who wished not to be named said the ideas the prime
minister voices at any international fora are closely monitored, and
that is why the leaders world over describe him as a "close friend
and valued adviser".
Newsweek in its article on the 2010 world ranking of leaders placed
Manmohan Singh at the top, and said the prime minister's "unassuming
personal style really inspires awe among his fellow global
The official told IANS that the reason world leaders look up to
Manmohan Singh for ideas is because "he maintains his sincerity and
humility" despite presiding over one billion people for so long.
"The Indian economy has done so well, he is a great administrator,
and modest, reasonable and tolerant. This all scores for him," he
Returning Saturday from what he himself described as a "fruitful"
foreign trip, Manmohan Singh while speaking to journalists onboard
his special plane was all smiles - quite a rare sight - and
countered every questions confidently with one liners.
"Well, I am not disturbed. I have always believed that if winter
comes, can spring be far away," the prime minister said, when was
asked if he felt disturbed by the criticism at home.
Muted laughter preceded his one liner when he was asked what would
be the five things he would like to achieve in the relations with
Pakistan -- one of his favoured priorities.
"Well, I think five is too much... if I can succeed in normalising
relations between India and Pakistan, as they should prevail between
two normal states, I would consider my job well done," he said.
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