Modi meets Obama, Gita gifted to him…

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US President Barack Obama on Monday hosted a private dinner for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was once shunned by America, at the White House here.

After the dinner, Modi described the meet with Obama as “wonderful”, adding the duo discussed a number of issues.

Briefing reporters after the 90-minute meet, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin described the first talks between the two leaders at dinner as “convivial and comforting”.

President Obama greeted PM Modi in his mother tongue Gujarati, saying “Khem Chho? (How are you?)”. Modi responded in English with, “Thank you very much Mr President”, said Akbaruddin.

Modi gifted a special edition of the Gita, an interpretation by Mahatma Gandhi, to Obama. The book had been prepared in Delhi.

The two leaders began communication by sharing anecdotes about their early days in office as “outsiders”.

Modi, fasting for the Hindu festival of Navratri, sipped warm water at dinner but told Obama to “please go ahead as normal”.

A small group of Kashmir separatists and Sikh separatists also held a protest outside the White House building, but they were far outnumbered by the pro-Modi supporters.

The Pennsylvania Avenue was closed for most part in the evening and the pro-Modi group and anti-India protesters were pushed far behind when the motorcade crossed the avenue on its way to the White House.

The Blue Room is used for receptions and receiving lines, and is occasionally set for small dinners.

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