OBAMA VISIT: One-on-one meet precedes dinner

first_imgUS President Barack Obama greets Congress chief Sonia Gandhi at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s (right) dinner on Sunday.A day before the elaborate banquet by President Pratibha Patil, on the lawns of Rashtrapati Bhavan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hosted a lavish dinner for US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle at his 7, Race Course residence. Attended by as many as 80 guests – they included India’s who’s who – the dinner was preceded by a 40-minute one-on-one meeting between Singh and Obama.They reportedly discussed key bilateral issues, including economic cooperation, outsourcing, terror and the Af-Pak situation. The exercise was aimed at ironing out differences before the restricted and delegation-level talks at the Hyderabad House here on Monday.The Obamas drove down to the Prime Minister’s residence from ITC Maurya where they are staying. They were welcomed by Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur. On their arrival, the Obamas were welcomed by a band of Indian Navy and 30 camelmounted BSF personnel playing bugles and trumpets. The tunes played included Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite bhajan Vaishnav jan to and all-time Bollywood hit O meri zohra jabeen, tujhe maloom nahin.Though earlier expected to be a ‘private dinner’ for a select group, the guest list at Sunday’s do included key personalities from the area of politics, business, sports and cinema.The high-powered group included Congress president Sonia Gandhi – she was dressed in a dark blue silk sari – finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, home minister P. Chidambaram, defence minister A.K. Antony, foreign minister S.M. Krishna, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, commerce minister Anand Sharma, HRD minister Kapil Sibal MoS in PMO Prithviraj Chauhan, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao, Indian Envoy to US Meera Shankar, Jamia Milia University vice-chancellor Najeeb Jung and Sam Pitroda, advisor to the Prime Minister on public information infrastructure and innovations.advertisementBJP leaders L.K. Advani and Arun Jaitley were also present on the occasion. Business honchos gracing the event included Azim Premji, Ratan Tata, Swati Piramal and N.R. Narayanamurthy. Bollywood personalities Aamir Khan, Shabana Azmi and Javed Akthar added more glamour to the occasion. Chess wizard Viswanathan Anand and environment activist Sunita Narain were also among the guests.FINE DININGIt was Awadhi platter for the Obamas at the private dinner hosted by the PM. Following are some of the items that were served:SOUPS: Shorba & mulligatawnyMAIN COURSE: Fish, lamb with green chillies, kakori kabab, mughlai chicken, gobi, dal dampukht, rice pulao, variety of Indian breadsDESSERT: Kesar phirni, mava potilast_img

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