Sunita Williams meets Sonia Gandhi | india | Hindustan Times
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Sunita Williams meets Sonia Gandhi

Wearing a salwar-kurta, Williams was accompanied by some of her relatives on the first day of her 6-day visit to Delhi.

india Updated: Sep 30, 2007 04:07 IST

Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams met Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi at her residence in New Delhi on Saturday, on the first day of her six-day visit to the Indian capital.

Wearing a salwar-kurta with a floral print, the 42-year-old astronaut was accompanied by some of her relatives. The meeting lasted about 40 minutes.

The Congress leader, who welcomed Williams with a broad smile, congratulated her on her becoming the only woman astronaut to stay in space for 195 days.

However, none of them talked to the media.

After a red carpet welcome in Gujarat and rousing applause in Hyderabad, Williams arrived in the capital to warm smiles and camera flashes at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, from where she headed to the US embassy.

Williams is expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had telephoned her last week and invited her to meet him. She is scheduled to interact with schoolchildren on Monday at the American Centre and participate in several programmes over the next six days.

"She is definitely here till Thursday (Oct 4)," Sudha Gandhi, an information officer of the US embassy, told IANS.

On September 20, Williams had arrived in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, the home state of her father. She went to Hyderabad on September 24 to attend the International Astronautical Congress.

The prime minister has termed her as a "role model for Indian children and a source of inspiration for Indian women".

"India feels proud of her achievement, even though she is a citizen of the United States of America," the prime minister had said.