CHRIS KEANE/REU TERS
JONATHAN ERNS T/REU TERS
September 29 was to begin with a breakfast meeting
with a group of eminent CEOs from Fortune 500
companies, which was likely to include the likes of
Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, Satya Nadella of Microsoft,
and Ajay Banga of MasterCard.
This was to be followed by a meeting with former
President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton — the most
talked about presidential candidate for 2016 — after which
Modi was to deliver a speech at the Council on Foreign
Relations. There, he was to be introduced by CFR
President Richard Haass, who has written extensively on
India and South Asia and was a senior State Department
and National Security Council official.
Around 2 pm, Prime Minister Modi’s Air India One was
to make the one-hour flight to the Andrews Air Force Base
in Maryland. After being received by a senior State
Department protocol officer, he was to come into DC by
motorcade and be put up at Blair House where visiting foreign leaders to Washington, DC are housed.
Modi was to be then be hosted at a private dinner at the
White House by President Obama and First Lady
September 30, the prime minister was to make quick
visits to the Lincoln Memorial and the recently constructed Reverend Martin Luther King Memorial, and then
travel down Embassy Row on Massachusetts Avenue,
Northwest to the Mahatma Gandhi statue directly opposite the Indian embassy.
He was to then meet with embassy officials, who have
been preparing assiduously over the past few weeks to
coordinate the visit and also spruce up the embassy, which
has also put up in the lobby for the first time a huge portrait
of Swami Vivekananda, one of Modi’s heroes.
The prime minister was to then leave for the White
House for the formal summit with President Obama in the
East Room following a photo-op and brief remarks by
both leaders in the Oval Office.
After this meeting that was expected to end a little
after noon, Modi was to go to the State Department for
a luncheon hosted by Vice President Joe Biden and
Secretary of State John F Kerry. Besides senior administration officials, some leading US Senators were also
expected to be in attendance at this lunch.
After the luncheon expected to end a little after 2
pm., the prime minister and his entourage was to go up on
Capitol Hill for a tea hosted by House Speaker John
Boehner in his office along with the House Congressional
Modi was to then return to downtown DC for his final
event in the US, to the US Chamber of Commerce Building
on H Street NW, where the US-India Business Council,
chaired by Banga, was to welcome him.
Ambassador Susan Esserman, former deputy US trade
representative in the Clinton administration, and a senior
board member of USIBC, said, “We have never before seen
an Indian prime minister’s visit to the United States so
heavily business-oriented and so packed with meetings
with the US business community.”
Modi means business
He will eat nothing
President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama were to host a private dinner for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday, September 29, at the White House. All eyes would be on the body language of the two leaders and how Modi rose above the bitter past where he was denied a US visa by the State Department.
According to sources in the Prime Minister’s Office, Modi will not eat dinner as he will be fasting. He would
have only lime juice at the most.
For the last 40 years, Modi, devoted to Ma Amba, fasts during Navratras. He drinks lukewarm water and
sometime he eats a fruit a day.
He was to have a working lunch on Tuesday, September 30, with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State
John Kerry at the State Department. Again, he is to eat nothing.
‘We are aware of the prime minister’s plans to fast during his visit to Washington,’ Caitlin Hayden, spokesperson,
National Security Council, told the Press Trust of India last week. ‘As with all guests hosted by US Presidents over
the years, we always work to respectfully accommodate the practices of our visitors. The President looks forward
to a successful bilateral visit with the prime minister, and we do not anticipate this being an issue in any way.’
— Sheela Bhatt
ADNAN ABIDI/REU TERS