Prime Minister Narendra Modi is planning a special gesture for Barack Obama, chief guest at this year’s Republic Day parade, to recreate and reciprocate the US president’s ‘Martin Luther King moment’, HT has learnt.
In a spontaneous gesture during Modi’s visit in September last year, Obama had accompanied the prime minister on a visit to the memorial of Martin Luther King Jr, the American civil rights leader who drew inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi.
The unscheduled trip by Obama became a much talked about event and was seen as a mark of the US president walking an extra mile to highlight the importance he and his administration gave to the India-US relationship.
The government is extremely tight-lipped about what Modi and his team have in store for Obama but an official on condition of anonymity said, “The gesture would endorse the chalein saath saath (we walk together) mantra, and the PM will more than reciprocate Obama’s surprise visit to the memorial.” The ministry of external affairs declined to comment. So, wait and watch is the mantra for now.