Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came down to the most important segment of his visit to the United States and met US President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday night for an informal private dinner, ahead of a formal summit-level talk on Tuesday.
Obama, who received Modi at the South Gate of the White House, extended a warm welcome to the Indian leader with a greeting in Gujarati, "Kem Cho (How are you?)", to connect instantly with Modi in his mother tongue.
Khem Cho Mr Prime Minister. Prez @BarackObama welcomes Prime Minister at door of the White House.
— Syed Akbaruddin (@MEAIndia) September 29, 2014
Both leaders, popular for their leadership styles and their use of technology and social media, are meeting for the first time, and Modi reportedly gifted Obama a special edition of the Gita -- an interpretation by Mahatma Gandhi. The dinner was held in the Blue Room of the President's official residence, according to Press Trust of India.
Modi described the 90-minute meeting as "wonderful" and said the two spoke on a "wide range of issues".
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 30, 2014
In the 90-minute meeting, US Vice-President Joe Biden, secretary of state John Kerry and national security advisor Susan Rice and several others were part of the American side of the table at the dinner while Modi was accompanied by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, and national security advisor Ajit Doval, among others.
The ministry of external affairs has described the Modi-Obama meet as a "successful" one. "There was a feeling that US-India relationship is the most important in the world today," said MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin in a media briefing post the dinner.
Ahead of the meeting, the two nations released a joint-vision statement detailing the India-US partnership, in which the US promised to support India for a 'reformed United Nations Security Council'. Titled 'Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go', the statement also touches upon issues such as terrorism, nuclear weapons and climate change.
"Together, we will combat terrorist threats and keep our homelands and citizens safe from attacks, while we respond expeditiously to humanitarian disasters and crises. We will prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and remain committed to reducing the salience of nuclear weapons, while promoting universal, verifiable, and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament," the statement reads.
The statement ends with a positive vision of a strengthened relationship between the two nations – "We have a vision that the United States and India will have a transformative relationship as trusted partners in the 21st century. Our partnership will be a model for the rest of the world".