Manmohan Singh among Obama’s closest pals
New York: Countering allegations that he is "aloof", US President Barack Obama counted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and German Chancellor Angela Merkel among leaders with whom he has forged "friendships and bonds of trust".
"I wasn't in other administrations, so I didn't see the interactions between US presidents and various world leaders.”
"But the friendships and the bonds of trust that I've been able to forge with a whole range of leaders are precisely, or are big part of, what has allowed us to execute effective diplomacy," Obama said in an interview to Time magazine.
Obama was responding to a remark that his style of diplomacy is criticised by some as being "very cool and aloof" and that he does not "pal around" with world leaders.
The President countered that saying he has close relations with leaders including Merkel, Singh, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan and British Premier David Cameron.
"I think that if you ask them, Angela Merkel or Prime Minister Singh or President Lee or Prime Minister Erdogan or David Cameron would say, we have a lot of trust and confidence in the President.”
"We believe what he says. We believe that he'll follow through on his commitments. We think he's paying attention to our concerns and our interests.”
"And that's part of the reason we've been able to forge these close working relationships and gotten a whole bunch of stuff done," Obama added.
He further said the American leadership recognises the rise of countries like China, India and Brazil. Obama added that he suspects he got the reputation of being aloof since he does not go to a lot of "Washington parties".
"And as a consequence, the Washington press corps maybe just doesn't feel like I'm in the mix enough with them, and they figure, well, if I'm not spending time with them, I must be cold and aloof," he said.
The President said he prefers to spend whatever little free time he gets with the family.
"The fact is, I've got a 13-year-old and 10-year-old daughter, and so, no, Michelle and I don't do the social scene, because as busy as we are, we have a limited amount of time, and we want to be good parents at a time that's vitally important for our kids".