Walk and talk to reciprocate Obama’s memorial gesture?

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 25, 2015 00:59 IST

The cancellation of Barack Obama’s Agra trip may have taken some sheen away from his India trip, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the US President are expected to indulge in a ‘walk and talk’ at Hyderabad House in Delhi on Sunday — a gesture that may add some more symbolic weight to the US President’s high-on-optics trip.

After the working lunch at the Hyderabad House, which will host the Summit meeting between the two sides, the Prime Minister will accompany the US President for a short walk in the sprawling lawns of the Hyderabad House.

Officials have fixed 20 minutes for the event.

“The idea behind it is to allow the two leaders to talk exclusively with each other,” said an official in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Observers also see this gesture as Modi’s way of reciprocating Obama joining him at the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial and showing him around personally.

Last year September, during Modi’s maiden tour to the United States of America, the Prime Minister had planned to pay his respects at the memorial of America’s iconic civil rights activist in Washington.

In what was widely described as a spontaneous gesture, the US President decided to go along with Modi to the memorial and the two leaders chatted about Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr during the short interaction.

Sources in Delhi, however, refused to speculate on the topics that the two leaders may discuss during their walking interaction.

“It will be a chance for them to indulge in a freewheeling conversation. Whether they talk about strategic or bilateral issues, or rake up so other topic, is up to them,” said an official.

A White House press release stated: “Following the working lunch with Prime Minister Modi at Hyderabad House, the President will participate in a walk and talk with Prime Minister Modi. There will be travel pool coverage of the walk and talk.”

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