The most awaited schedule of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit, the meeting with US President Barack Obama has took place, on Monday at the White House.
On Monday, Obama had hosted a private dinner for Modi. During the meet, Obama greeted Modi in his language Gujarati, asking “Kem Chho Mr Prime Minister? (How are you?),” where Modi replied in English saying, “Thank you very much Mr President.”
Modi has gifted a special edition of the Gita with a khadi silk cover to the President. The gita handed over to Obama is an interpretation by Mahatma Gandhi.
The leaders were joined by 20 attendees. While Obama was joined by Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Modi was accompanied by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Indian Ambassador to the US, S Jaishankar.
Being in fast for the Navratri festival, Modi just had warm water while the dinner hosted by Obama and has asked Obama to “please go ahead as normal”. Modi described the meet with Obama as “wonderful”, after the dinner.
Though the leaders had a 90 minutes meet, more substantive talks will take place only on Tuesday. The duo has shared anecdotes about their early days in office as “outsiders”. However, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin described the first talks between the two leaders at dinner as “convivial and comforting”.
According to reports, Akbaruddin said, “They shared many similarities – both used technology in their campaigns, both were relative outsiders in to capital cities when they assumed power. Both felt initial disappointments in terms of available infrastructure.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “The two leaders will discuss ways to accelerate economic growth, bolster security cooperation, and collaborate in activities that bring long-term benefits to both countries and the world.”
Earnest added, “The President looks forward to working with the Prime Minister to fulfill the promise of the US-India strategic partnership for the benefit of both our citizens and the world.” Vice President Joe Biden is also expected to participate in the meeting.