After registering a moral victory for India and other emerging economies at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, a triumphant yet humble Prime Minister Manmohan Singh celebrated his 77th birthday aboard Air India One while heading for Geneva on Saturday.
Premier Singh’s wife – Gursharan Kaur, NSA MK Narayanan, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, were present at the cake-cutting ceremony.
The cake was later shared with other officials and the media contingent accompanying Singh on the tour.
In a brief interaction with the media, Singh, still exhausted from the Pittsburgh Summit, said: “I pray to God for strength to serve my country.”
Singh led the Congress to a thumping electoral victory in the 2009 parliamentary polls, he was later formally appointed to office.
He is only the second Indian Prime Minister, after Jawaharlal Nehru, to return to power after completing a full five-year term in office.
Meanwhile in Amritsar, Singh’s family members celebrated the occasion by distributing sweets and holding prayers for his long life and good health.
Premier Singh’s younger brother – Surjit Singh Kohli, who lives in the city, said the family was swarmed with congratulatory messages since the morning and added that an Ardas was observed to mark the occasion.
At the Pittsburgh Summit, Singh championed the cause of India and other emerging economies by seeking greater involvement for them in the global financial system and its regulation.
He also sought the continuation of stimulus packages aimed at helping developing and poor economies tide over the current economic crisis, the worst in over eight years.
Singh’s ideas on financial stimulus found echo in the leaders’ statement that pledged to avoid any premature withdrawal of stimulus.
Incidentally, this is the second birthday the leader celebrated en-route to Geneva, in 2004 too, he had celebrated the occasion mid-air with accompanying officials and media persons, he was on his way back from New York, where he had addressed the 59th UN General Assembly.