About the Author: Robert O. Blake serves as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs.
The President's participation in the State Department reception for Indian External Affairs Minister Krishna demonstrated the importance that he places on the U.S.-India partnership, marking his typically gracious and courteous respect for our Indian friends. The President immediately put everyone at ease. After Minister Krishna noted that a restaurant in Delhi has named a dish after Secretary Clinton, the President joked that when he travels to India in early November, he hopes to establish an "Obama platter." He also quipped that a third of his Cabinet has traveled to India already, "and not just for the chappatis." In his remarks, Minister Krishna suggested that the scope of the U.S.-India partnership would further the betterment of humankind. Secretary Clinton echoed the sentiment by reviewing the close partnership that the Strategic Dialogue has deepened.
The reception itself, held in the elegant Eighth Floor of the State Department, featured more than chappatis. Guests munched on samosas, lamb and corn fritters, and Argentinian pulled chicken, while sipping from glasses of champagne garnished with hibiscus flowers. Our great protocol team strikes again! A harpist greeted guests getting off the elevator, and inside the elegant Ben Franklin Room, a trio of musicians played. The guest list included luminaries from the Indian American community, strategic thinkers who have supported the U.S.-India partnership -- including several from the previous Administration -- as well as the many officials, desk officers, and India hands who put the Strategic Dialogue together.
After the meeting, planning already has started on the President's visit to India in November, which will mark the next exciting milestone in this indispensable partnership.