Modi, Obama
US President Barack Obama hosts a meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on 30 September, 2014.Reuters file

"As a boy, Narendra Modi helped his father sell tea to support their family. Today, he is the leader of the world's largest democracy, and his life story - from poverty to prime minister - reflects the dynamism and potential of India's rise."

This is how US President Barack Obama begins his write-up on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who figures in TIME magazine's 100 most influential people.

In a piece titled "India's reformer-in-chief", Obama writes: "Determined to help more Indians follow in his path, he's laid out an ambitious vision to reduce extreme poverty, improve education, empower women and girls and unleash India's true economic potential while confronting climate change."

"Like India, he transcends the ancient and the modern - a devotee of yoga who connects with Indian citizens on Twitter and imagines a 'digital India'."

Reflecting on Modi's visit to Washington last September, Obama writes, referring to him as "Narendra": "When he came to Washington, Narendra and I visited the memorial to Dr Martin Luther King Jr."

"We reflected on the teachings of King and Gandhi and how the diversity of backgrounds and faiths in our countries is a strength we have to protect. Prime Minister Modi recognises that more than 1 billion Indians living and succeeding together can be an inspiring model for the world."