The honour of being the guest at the first state dinner hosted by United States President Barack Obama would go to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and it will be held during his upcoming state visit scheduled for November 24.
Obama, who has been a great admirer of Manmohan Singh for his visionary role in steering India from a developing country to a major economic power, has invited the prime minister for the first State visit of his administration.
Incidentally, Manmohan Singh had the distinction of being the first State guest of the second term of the Bush administration. As such the prime minister would be the guest at the Blair House, across the White House, one more time.
It is apparently in recognition of importance of India as a merging world power as well as New Delhi being perceived as a new close and stable ally by the US, the sources said.
As the Obama administration endeavours to ‘deepen’ its strategic ties with India, a lot of effort is being given in making this State visit an important milestone in the Indo-US relationship.
Early this month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held an inter-agency meeting to review the preparation of the up-coming visit of the prime minister.
During the brief meetings Manmohan Singh had with the US President at the last week’s G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, Obama is believed to have told the prime minister that he was looking forward to his visit to the White House in November.
A formal invitation for the State visit was extended by Clinton during her visit to India in July. State visits are the highest form of diplomatic contact between two nations and are marked by ceremonial pomp and diplomatic protocol.