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Only regret not having seen Taj, Barack tells friend Modi

Their \'personal chemistry\' made headlines as the Indo-US relationship soared in the last two-and-a-half years.

Published: 09th September 2016 04:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th September 2016 04:02 AM   |  A+A-

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NEW DELHI: Their “personal chemistry” made headlines as the Indo-US relationship soared in the last two-and-a-half years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday met President of the United States Barack Obama for the eighth time, and the latter had only one regret — he has not been to the wonder of the world Taj Mahal yet!

This could well be the last meeting between the two leaders before Obama’s term ends. The meeting took place at Vientiane in Laos. Both leaders were in the Southeast Asian country to attend the ASEAN Summit and held a meeting on the sidelines of the multilateral event.

“Prime Minister Modi invited President Obama to visit India after he demits office. Obama said he would welcome any opportunity to visit India and added he and Michelle were yet to see the Taj Mahal,” sources said.

The two leaders, while taking stock of the progress in  bilateral relations, also praised each other’s various initiatives. “Modi praised Obama for his contribution to the relationship and the growing trust between the two countries. Obama praised Modi’s initiatives to reform the Indian economy. In particular, he said the passage of GST will unleash significant economic activity,” sources said, adding that Modi’s thrust on entrepreneurship and innovation was also mentioned by Obama, who said it was “very important for a country like India”.

The chemistry between the two leaders was all  perceptible when Modi broke protocol and pulled Obama into a bear hug as he de-boarded his Air Force One last year. Obama, in an article in Time, wrote that Modi “transcends the ancient and the modern”. “Barack and I have formed a bond, a friendship,” Modi said.

The US “strongly supports” India’s NSG membership bid, President Obama told PM Modi as they discussed the immediate priorities in the strategic partnership.

Obama reportedly said he has always been a friend of India and will continue to be a “strong partner of India and help in any way I can”. Talks then focused around climate change issues and energy cooperation. The duo  also reviewed progress on Indo-US collaboration in nuclear energy, solar energy and innovation.

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