‘A Promised Land’ , released on November 17, covers the first term of Obama as US president during 2008-2012. In his book, Obama remembers Singh as a “man with uncommon wisdom” and that he owed his position as prime minister to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
Sonia had picked him to be the PM because he posed no threat to her son Rahul Gandhi, Obama writes. “(Singh) owed his position to Sonia Gandhi… More than one political observer believed that she’d chosen Singh precisely because as an elderly Sikh with no national political base, he posed no threat to her … son Rahul, whom she was grooming to take over the Congress party,” he says.
About Rahul Gandhi, he writes, “Rahul Gandhi has a nervous, unformed quality about him, as if he were a student who’d done the coursework and was eager to impress the teacher but deep down lacked either the aptitude or the passion to master the subject.”
Obama also found Manmohan Singh “to be wise, thoughtful, and scrupulously honest.”
Giving an account of his 2010 India tour, Obama writes, “Manmohan Singh, the prime minister of India, meanwhile, had engineered the modernization of his nation’s economy. A gentle, soft-spoken economist in his seventies, with a white beard and a turban that were the marks of his Sikh faith but to the Western eye lent him the air of a holy man, he had been India’s finance minister in the 1990s, managing to lift millions of people from poverty.”
Obama also describes Singh as “a chief architect of India’s economic transformation.”