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At White House dinner banquet, Modi says Just Water Please

At White House dinner banquet, Modi says Just Water Please

India Blooms News Service | | 30 Sep 2014, 03:24 pm
Washington, Sept 30 (IBNS): At a dinner hosted by US President Barack Obama at the White House, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had only warm water, but asked the rest of the guests not to feel awkward on his account and continue with their meal, media reported.
Modi was denied a visa to the United States in 2005 on human rights grounds over communal riots in his home state of Gujarat three years before that, has been courted heavily by the US since he took office - several cabinet level delegations have visited him in Delhi. 
After nine years, the White House laid a red-carpet for Indian PM. On Monday Obama hosted a private dinner for Modi. 
There were nine guests each at dinner from the Indian and American sides. 
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Indian Ambassador to the US S Jaishankar and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh were among the Indian guests, while Vice-President Joe Biden, Secretary of State William Burns, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and USAID's Rajiv Shah were among the Americans present. 
The menu at the dinner was also sumptuous. 
The non-veg menu comprised of crisped halibut with carrot sauce.
 There were also compressed avocados, goat cheese and baby bell peppers, micro basil, grapeseed oil, roti crisps and saffron basmati rice. 
Mango creme brulee and ginger tuille were served for dessert. 
A white wine from California accompanied the meal. 
It has been learnt that, a plate was put before the Prime Minister in accordance with protocol, but he stuck to the warm water he has been drinking right through the trip. 
Prime Minister Modi is now on the sixth day of the nine-day Navratri fast, a ritual he observes strictly every year. 
It has been learnt that a special nimbu-pani or lime water concentrate has reportedly been packed with PM Modi's luggage, but the 64-year-old has so far been only drinking water.
Nevertheless, Modi told the group: “Please don’t feel embarrassed and please continue with your food,” Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for the Indian Foreign Ministry, recounted later Monday in a briefing for reporters. 
Prime minister encouraged his host to enjoy the meal, and Mr. Obama obliged.