New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) It was the “Chai pe Charcha” moment in Indian diplomacy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, known for his innovative and more personal approach to diplomatic engagements, Sunday took a stroll with US President Barack Obama in the neatly manicured lawns of Hyderabad House and also poured him a cup of tea – all without any aides.
The sight of the two leaders – one the prime minister of the world’s largest democracy and the other the president of the world’s oldest democracy – chatted without aides next to the flower beds for quite a while – with the riveting picture of their warmth and camaraderie relayed live on television.
Modi and Obama, who arrived Sunday morning on a three-day visit, held talks over luncheon and later with their delegations – spread over three hours.
Later the two walked outside to the Hyderabad House lawns, chatting animatedly all the while.
The body language signaled close friendship between the two leaders, and Modi later said that personal chemistry between two leaders is important to forge closer ties between their countries and peoples.
Their friendship also signaled that the chemistry that had developed between them during Modi’s visit to Washington last September had grown even stronger.
The two sat down on two comfortable single-seater sofa chairs, under a curtained canopy. Modi then picked up a teapot, and poured tea for his VVIP guest, chatting all the while. There were no aides to help with the tea.
The Chai pe Charcha moment got a special thanks from Obama at the press conference later.
Modi, the son of a tea-vendor, had devised this campaign strategy after a rival Congress party leader had ridiculed his tea-seller roots.
The talks also saw the two leaders announce clinching of the agreement for implementation of the civil nuclear agreement, which would make way for commercial agreement to set up the US civil nuclear reactors in India.
Obama’s visit comes just a month after that of Russian President Vladimir Putin to India for the annual India-Russia summit, which saw both countries announce several agreements in defence and energy.
The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping last September also had a touch of novelty, as Modi received him in Ahmedabad and both held talks while taking a walk along the Sabarmati river front,. The two strolled as folk musicians and dancers performed along the way.
Modi and Xi also sat together on a wooden swing. This was the first time that a visiting dignitary was received in another city. Modi has said that it is necessary to showcase all the Indian cities to visiting dignitaries and Delhi should not be the sole venue for such events.