FIACONA and ICF participate in President Bushâ€™s honoring of Dr Manmohan
20 Jul 2005
Washington DC. The Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA) and its sister organization, the Indian Christian Forum (ICF), were honored to be invited by the Bush Administration to participate in the select events felicitating the Indian Prime Minister during his State visit to Washington DC on July 18 and 19. FIACONA was represented by Rev Bernard Malik, President, and Mr. Abraham Mammen, National Vice President, who also represented the ICF.
Speaking at the White House welcome ceremony President Bush described the close relationship between India and the US by saying, "Because of our shared values the relationship between our two countries has never been stronger. We're working to make our nations more secure, deliver a better life to our citizens and advance the cause of peace and freedom throughout the world." At the luncheon in his honor Dr Manmohan Singh underlined a vision for the two countries that coincidentally aptly captured the goals that FIACONA and ICF have in their own small ways been working towards. He said that the partnership between the two countries "draws upon values of pluralism and the diversity that is such a defining characteristic of both societies."
Rev Bernard Malik, President, FIACONA, reminded the media that it was the very values of pluralism, democratic functioning, respect for minority rights and freedom of religion that had been under threat in India especially under the NDA regime led by the BJP. " Dr Manmohan Singh's government has taken various legislative and administrative steps to counter the assaults from communal elements in the political and social fabric of the country but there was still a long way to go before minority communities could feel safe and secure in some States of India." The same sentiments were emphasized in the Indo-US Joint Statement released on the occasion. The statement said the building on their common values and interests the two leaders resolved: "To create and international environment conducive to promotion of democratic values and to strengthen democratic practices in societies which wish to become more open and pluralistic".
Underlining the commitment of India to creating and strengthening an open society Mr. Abraham Mammen, FIACONA's National Vice President, mentioned the recent passing of the Freedom of Information Act by the Indian Parliament. "Dr Manmohan Singh's government has achieved notable landmarks in regard to reversing the trend towards a perverse and distorted view of history and the poison that was being introduced into the educational curriculum in regard to India's minority communities. Dr Singh himself is a learned scholar, able administrator and the architect of India's now flourishing economic reforms. Yet he carries his learning and eminence with such humility. He makes every Indian proud of his country. It is therefore not surprising that he has been received with such honor and respect by the Bush Administration," Mr. Mammen said. Mr.
Mammen and Reverend Malik were guests at the State Dinner that President Bush held in honor of Dr Singh.