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From Ambanis to Tim Cook, Who's Who At Modi Dinner

By Lalit K Jha
Last updated on: June 23, 2023 09:27 IST
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Big names in the tech world and billionaire industrialists such as Mukesh Ambani, Google CEO Sunder Pichai and Apple CEO Tim Cook were among those invited to the State Dinner hosted in the honour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House on Thursday.

IMAGE: Apple CEO Tim Cook and his guest, former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, who is now Apple's Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, arrive to attend the State Dinner hosted by President Joe Biden for Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House in Washington, on June 22, 2023. Photograph: Julia Nikhinson/Reuters

The menu, comprising mostly vegetarian dishes, taking note of the dietary restrictions of the visiting prime minister, included marinated millets, stuffed mushrooms, grilled corn kernel salad and cardamom-infused strawberry shortcake.

More than 400 guests were invited for the dinner hosted by US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at a specially decorated pavilion on the South Lawn of the White House.

In his address at the State Dinner, Prime Minister Modi applauded the role of Indian Americans in the all-round development of the nation they live in and playing a significant role in strengthening the India-US relationship.


The guests here 'symbolise so much about the US-India relationship -- our energy, our dynamism, and our potential', he said.

IMAGE: Mukesh Ambani and Nita Ambani arrive at the White House for the State Dinner. Photograph: ANI on Twitter

"You have gathered a group of exceptionally talented and remarkable people tonight, I must commend you for that," he said thanking President Biden and the first lady for hosting the dinner and raised a toast for his 'wonderful' hosts.

Modi spoke in Hindi with the speech being translated to English.

IMAGE: Google CEO Sundar Pichai and his wife Anjali Pichai arrive to attend the State Dinner. Photograph: Julia Nikhinson/Reuters

Industrialist Anand Mahindra, corporate leader Indira Nooyi and the CEOs of Microsoft and Adobe -- Satya Nadella and Shantanu Narayen -- also attended the event.

IMAGE: President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an official state dinner at the White House in Washington, on June 22, 2023. Photograph: Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

The first course of the State Dinner included marinated millet, grilled corn kernel salad, compressed watermelon and a tangy avocado sauce and the main course had stuffed portobello mushrooms and a creamy saffron-infused risotto.

Dishes on request of guests included sumac-roasted sea bass, lemon-dill yogurt sauce, crisped millet cakes and summer squashes.

Photograph: Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

For dessert, rose and cardamom-infused strawberry shortcake was served. Wines on the list were Stone Tower Chardonnay 'Kristi' 2021, PATEL Red Blend 2019 and Domain Carneros Brut Rose.

The guest list also included human rights activist Martin Luther King III, tennis legend Billie Jean King, filmmaker M Night Shyamalan, fashion designer Ralph Lauren, Grammy award winner Joshua Bell and entrepreneur Frank Islam.

IMAGE: The Bidens and Modi walk in front of the Grand Staircase of the White House before the official state dinner. Photograph: Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

Indian Americans lawmakers on the list were Pramila Jayapal, Shri Thanedar, Ro Khanna, Ami Bera and Raja Krishnamoorthi.

Members of the Biden family at the dinner included Hunter Biden, Ashley Biden, James Biden and Naomi Biden Neal. Vice President Kamala Harris, who will host a luncheon for Prime Minister Modi, was also present.

IMAGE: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his wife Evan Ryan. Photograph: Julia Nikhinson/Reuters

India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar attended the dinner along with US diplomats and members of the Biden administration.

Prime Minister Modi is visiting the US from June 21-24 at the invitation of President Joe Biden and the First Lady.

IMAGE: President Joe Biden's daughter Ashley Biden and her guest Seema Sadanandan arrive to attend the State Dinner. Photograph: Julia Nikhinson/Reuters

Every element of the dinner and decor has been chosen to make each guest's experience personal and warm, Elizondo had said.

IMAGE: Chairman of Mahindra Group Anand Mahindra arrives to attend the State Dinner.. Photograph: Julia Nikhinson/Reuters

White House Social Secretary Carlos Elizondo, previewing the dinner on Wednesday, had said the First Lady has been involved in this event at every step.

The decor of the venue features elements that honour the tradition and cultures of the US and India, including the Indian flag, he had said.

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Lalit K Jha in Washington, DC
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