Washington: Indian prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh arrived in Washington on Sunday to a red carpet welcome as the first state guest of president Barack Obama. His visit is expected to provide a fillip to the Indo-US strategic relationship.
Dr Singh, his wife Gursharan Kaur and the entourage, were received at the Andrews air force base in Maryland by India's ambassador to the US, Mira Shankar, and the chief of protocol of the United States, Penavic Marshall, before being driven down to the Willard Intercontinental Hotel, three blocks away from the White House.
The legendary hotel will be the prime minister's base for the duration of his stay in Washington. It is not clear why the Indian contingent shunned Blair House, the official state guest house for the president of the United States.
Dr Singh and president Obama are expected to address major global challenges like terrorism, climate change and economic slowdown at their summit.
The prime minister's state visit actually commences 24 November when US president Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama personally welcome Singh and his wife at the White House with a 21-gun salute.
Singh, however, kick-starts his visit Monday with an address to the American business community acknowledging their contribution in strengthening current US-India relationship and also acknowledging their role in the passage of the landmark Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.