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Bollywood stars and Hyderabadi biryani for Musharraf
A correspondent in New Delhi |
April 17, 2005 00:35 IST
Last Updated: April 17, 2005 12:56 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's dinner in honour of visiting President Musharraf was warm and cordial, said Sanjay Baru, the PM's press advisor.
Around 160 guests were invited to the banquet Delhi's Ashoka Hotel on Saturday. The guest list included Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee.
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Musharraf and his wife showed keen interest in Rani. Begum Sahiba told Rani that she had seen the film Veer-Zaara, which is a tale of love across borders, and said she liked her role.
Sumptuous Indian food was served to the guests. The highlight of the dinner was Hyderabadi biryani.
On the high table the PM's wife, Gusharan Kaur, was seated next to President Musharraf, while Dr Singh had the gracious company of Begum Sahiba.
The Leader of Opposition, Lal Kishenchand Advani, was seated just a few feet away on the same side as that of President Musharraf.
Among other dignitaries on the table were Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Also present was Congress leader from Kashmir Karan Singh, whose father had signed the accession treaty of J&K to India.
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Harkishen Singh Surjeet and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupendrasinh Hooda too were present.
Among the Pakistani leaders on the high table were foreign minister K M Kasuri and interior minister Sheikh Rashid.
Dr Singh gave a short but reassuring and forward-looking speech, while Musharraf spoke on expected lines and dwelt upon his theme of the Kashmir conflict.
The dinner lasted for a good two hours.