I can talk easily, joke with Obama : PM Modi

It was not just the confluence of the world’s two biggest democracies, but of two distinct personalities with profound styles, that set the tone for the US President Barack Obama’s three-day visit to India beginning Sunday. As Mr Obama arrived in the city, along with his wife Michelle, he was greeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a warm embrace in a highly symbolic yet diplomatically significant gesture, signalling a new dawn in Indo-US relations. As Mr Obama walked  off  Air  Force Delhi’s Palam  One at Air Force Base just after 10 on Sunday morning, he was greeted by Prime Minister Modi, who ignored protocol norms to welcome him on the tarmac, with a warm hug and a handshake. After walking a few steps, Mr Modi again held the US President’s right hand and held on for almost for half a minute, as Michelle was all smiles. Incidentally, then Prime  Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur had also welcomed Mr Obama at the Palam airbase on the US President’s last visit to this country in November 2010. Mr Obama and Mr Modi were a study in contrast in their sartorial style statements. While Mr Modi donned vibrant attire in which red and golden colours stood out, Mr Obama sported a more  businesslike  black  suit.  Michelle was in a flowing blue, black and white floral dress, created by Indian-origin US designer Bibhu Mahapatra. The Prime Minister later changed to a formal pinstripe bandhgala suit at Rashtrapati Bhavan, where Mr Obama was accorded a lavish ceremonial welcome, including a 21-gun salute, and his limo trailed by dozens of troops belonging to the President’s Bodyguard. On reachingRashtrapati Bhavan, Mr Obama greeted both President Pranab Mukhejee and the PM with a “namaste”, and said: “I am grateful for the extraordinary hospitality, it’s a great honour to be back in India... It’s hard to match this one...” The day, filled with symbolism aimed at strengthening the already close relationship between the two democracies, also  saw  the  two  leaders  going  for  a  brief  walk  at  thesprawling Hyderabad House, followed by a “Chai Pe Charcha”. The two settled into a special enclosure set up on the lawns, where they continued their discussions one-on-one over tea. Mr Modi was seen  pouring tea for his guest, and handing it to him in a white cup, reflecting the increasing bonhomie between them. The chemistry between President Obama and Mr Modi, that had blossomed when the  PM had gone to the United States in September last year, was evident, with the Indian leader calling him by his first name more than once during their joint media interaction. Mr Obama, displaying similar camaraderie, in turn addressed the Indian leader as “Modi”, and referred to their personal relationship which they had been  able to  build  “in  a  very  brief  amount  oftime”. The PM told the media he believed that relations between countries depend less on “full stops and commas on papers”, and more on relationships between leaders. “How much they know each other, how is their chemistry, these are very important. Barack and me have forged a friendship. There is openess with which we talk, we can talk comfortably over phone, joke with each other...This chemistry has not  only brought me and Barack close or Washington and Delhi nearer, but also the people of two countries. This personal chemistry matters a lot.” Before making his opening statement, Mr Obama greeted people in Hindi: “Mera pyar bhara namaskar (My greetings with love)”, and remarked that there should be more of it in Washington. Open images in new tab to find its source of sharing. Source: The Asian AgeImage: flickr.com