From left to right: Savita Kovind, Melania Trump, Donald Trump, Ram Nath Kovind and Narendra Modi at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
President Ram Nath Kovind hosted his American counterpart Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at a banquet at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday, hours before the Trumps returned to the US.
As the Presidential Bodyguards lined up on the stairs leading to the Durbar Hall, Trump, who was received by Kovind and his wife Savita, were taken to the hall where the visiting dignitary took a round.
Around 100 guests were invited for the event, with Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several Cabinet ministers, four chief ministers - Sarbananda Sonowal (Assam), Manohar Lal Khattar (Haryana), B S Yediyurappa (Karnataka) and K Chandrashekar Rao (Telangana) in attendance. Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, Wipro founder Azim Premji, banker Kotak Mahindra, musician A R Rahman besides others also attended.
However, Congress leaders, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rajya Sabha Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad gave it a miss.
The menu at the banquet included dishes like cajun spiced salmon, raan alishan, dal raisina and dum gosht biryani. Desserts included hazelnut apple pie and malpua with rabri, given Trump's known sweet tooth.
Kovind said: “As the world's largest democracies, we are deeply connected with each other through our people and their aspirations. The bedrock of Indian and American society has been hardworking middle-class families and that's what makes us understand each other instinctively. Over four million people of Indian origin have made America their home. They are a living bridge between the American Dream and our vision of New India. Our bilateral canvas has many folds, but none more impressive than the one painted by the growing Indian student community in the US.”
The US President said the last two days have been “very productive”. He said, “It was very special two days. I love India, I respect Indians. We will be back, we will be back.”-- With PTI inputs