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A view from the White House
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Twice in the last 24 hours I have choked with emotion.

My eyes have misted over and I have felt a strange exhilaration I know journalists -- the cynical lot that we are -- shouldn't experience.

It happened twice.

First at the Andrews air base near Washington, DC, on Sunday afternoon. And again on Monday morning at the White House.

I exulted in the honour the United States finally conceded India.

For a while at least, past slights -- oh! how I'd raged as a 12 year old when Richard Nixon sent the USS Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal to threaten India's resolve in 1971; how 10 odd years later, I couldn't comprehend the American decision to route arms to the Afghan mujahideen via Pakistan; how despite the euphoria of the Festival of India in the US in 1985, I wondered why my country and America whose spirit, artistes and writers I admired couldn't be friends -- subsided as I watched the tricolour borne proudly by US troops, the Jana Gana Mana played flawlessly by American military bands and my country hailed by the most powerful nation in the world as a very good friend.

Call me naive if you will, but I felt really good after a long time.

Despatches: Nikhil Lakshman in Washington, DC

Photograph: Paresh Gandhi

Also See: White House Welcomes PM

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