US President Barack Obama walked up to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the reception hosted by British Premier Gordon Brown and officials said the two leaders talked animatedly for close to ten minutes.
This was their first meeting since Obama assumed office January 20.
A member of the Indian delegation said, "President Obama walked up to the prime minister and spoke to him for almost 10 minutes."
The interaction on Wednesday set the stage for the bilateral meeting between the two leaders and their delegations later Thursday.
Diplomatic sources said several world leaders were particularly keen to listen to the Indian prime minister, the Oxford-educated economist who had fashioned the country's economic reforms in the early 1990s as finance minister.
"Over the last five years, our PM has emerged as a highly respected leader at international gatherings," a diplomat said, maintaining that Manmohan Singh's views were considered seriously by all the G20 leaders.
At the reception hosted by Brown, the prime minister said the rise of protectionist sentiment in the industrialised world was an issue of vital concern to developing countries.