Modi weaves magic Down Under

  • Press Trust of India, Hindustan Times, Brisbane
  • Updated: Nov 16, 2014 01:08 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday carried on with his hectic international diplomacy holding parleys with world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, over bilateral meetings and informal discussions on the fifth day of his whirlwind three-nation 10-day tour.

It was a warm hug for Australian Premier Tony Abbott by Modi — described by the Australian media as a “standout shake” so far at the G20 Summit — that was distinct from the formal handshakes with the host by other world leaders.

Dressed in a black bandhgala suit, Modi narrated an anecdote to President Obama and Abbott during the G20 retreat, sharing with them the story of Chicago-based Walter Burley Griffin, the well known American architect who designed the new Australian capital Canberra and who was buried in Lucknow.

“The life of Walter Burley Griffin is a common link among USA-Australia-India which the leaders appreciated,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.

Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin were also seen having a chat with Modi at the summit of the Group of 20 industrialised and major emerging economies.

“Focus on global issues,” Akbaruddin tweeted about this interaction.

On the fifth day of his foreign visit, Modi met French President Francois Hollande, Canadian Premier Stephen Harper and Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The informal meeting of the five-nation BRICS also saw Modi having interactions with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Putin and South African President Jacob Zuma.

He is due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spain’s Premier Mariano Rajoy on Sunday.

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