Narender Reddy Attends White House Dinner In Honor Of Prime Minister Singh
"I was taken by surprise," says Narender Reddy of the phone call from the White House Social Office on the morning of June 23. Reddy was being invited to a State dinner in honor of the visiting Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh.
At 8:30 a.m. on an already hot and humid morning of July 18, Reddy was escorted to the VIP section at the south lawn at the White House. The Prime Minister and his wife, Mrs. Gursharan Kaur, arrived at about 9:00 a.m. and were warmly received by President and the first lady. Several cabinet members along with Vice President Dick Cheney were also present. The ceremonial speeches were brief. A guard of honor was presented to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The dinner at the East Room of the White House was "a memorable experience," as per Reddy. The event started with cocktails in the East Room reception area. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld; Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice; House Majority Leader, Tom Delay and Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas were the early arrivals.���They mingled with the guests freely along with Vice President Dick Cheney and Mrs. Lynn Cheney. Reddy spoke to these officials in what he described as "more than a courtesy exchange."
Later, Indian Foreign Affairs Minister, Natwar Singh and his delegation arrived along with Ambassador Ronan Sen. Some of the visiting dignitaries as well as prominent Indian-Americans present at the event were: Amar Bose (Bose Corporation), Ratan Tata, Mukesh Ambani (Reliance Industries), Nandan Nilekani, (CEO, Infosys), Indra Nooyi (President, Pepsi-Cola).
As the event progressed, President Bush, Laura Bush, Prime Minister Singh and Mrs. Kaur walked in to the sound of tunes played by the armed services band. As the guests walked into the East Room receiving area, their names were announced for the benefit of the President and the Prime Minister. Reddy visited with both for a few minutes, and posed for a photo before proceeding to his table.
The atmosphere was warm and cordial. Later, Reddy presented Singh with a letter seeking necessary action to provide safe drinking water to people in Nalgonda district in India. The Prime Minister gave a hearty smile and commented, "You are living here for twenty-three years and I am very happy to know that you still care about your native place." He assured of doing what was necessary for the problem brought forth by Reddy.
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