US President Barack Obama visited India on Sunday and the entire day was hectic with visits to Rajghat and Rastrapati Bhavan, besides the diplomatic parleys taken up at Hyderabad House in New Delhi.
Obama praised Narendra Modi for his “legendary work ethic”, and described him as tough and stylish. He praised the Indian prime minister’s sartorial elegance and said he was also thinking of wearing a “Modi kurta”.
Speaking at the dinner banquet hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Obama marvelled at how Modi, the son of a tea vendor, became prime minister of the world’s largest democracy.
“Here this evening, we think back to all these years ago… your (Modi’s) father selling tea at the train stations, your mother working at other’s families homes to support and earn. Tonight, their son welcomes us as the prime minister of the world’s largest democracy,” Obama said.
Visibly impressed with Modi’s work style, Obama said: “We all know about the prime minister’s legendary work ethic. He was explaining to me today how he only needed three hours’ sleep which made me feel bad. I thought I was doing okay with five.”
“What I didn’t know until now is that he once survived an attack by a crocodile. So he is tough,” he said.
Praising Modi for his “style” and sartorial elegance, Obama said “tonight, I was thinking about wearing a Modi kurta myself” to smiles around.
President Pranab Mukherjee, in his banquet speech, said the presence of Obama at the Republic Day parade will demonstrate to the world the growing ties of friendship and trust that bind the two democracies closely.
The event was graced by a galaxy of personalities from various fields, including politics, business and art.
Mukherjee, Obama and his wife Michelle met the invitees which included former prime minster Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and BJP leader L.K. Advani.
Prime Minister Modi was among the first to greet Obama and his wife. Ministers in the Modi cabinet were also present.
Obama had a word with many of guests. One of them wrapped a shawl around his shoulders.Michelle, who was attired in a floral printed dress, also exchanged pleasantries with the guests.
Business leaders, including Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani, were among those present.
The dinner had both non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes. The main course included mustard fish curry, chicken korma, gushtaba, roast leg of lamb, mutton rogan josh (all non vegetarian dishes) and kadhi pakori, dal raisina, achari paneer, chhole, haak ka saag, chaunka matar and bedmi aloo (all vegetarian dishes).
The menu included vegetarian and non-vegetarian tandoori platters, curd, saffron rice, papad, soup and a variety of Indian bread.
The desserts included malpua with rabri, date steam pudding and cut pudding.
Tea, coffee and kahwa were among the beverages served in the dinner, during which various musical scores were also played.
Here is a round up of the events of Obama visit in Photos: