NEW YORK: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on his second US visit. He has interacted with top CEOs and media moguls and is expected to address world leaders at a landmark United Nations’ sustainable development summit and meet US President Barack Obama.Here are interesting things about the tour that you probably didn’t know.
President Barack Obama may have dumped the Waldorf Astoria, over fears of Chinese spying — the company was bought by a Beijing-based insurance company in 2014 — but the luxurious hotel, which has been home to US presidents for over 80 years remains popular with some countries. India, for one. Modi has been a guest at the hotel for the last two days — receiving a steady stream of visitors somewhere inside. The Chinese and Russian delegations are checking in on Friday. That’s almost all of the BRICs countries — with the exception of Brazil; no word on where they are staying.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is also a guest at the Waldorf Astoria and it is sometimes difficult to tell the Indian-Americans waiting for a glimpse of Modi from Bangladeshi-Americans waiting for their PM. The two leaders held a bilateral meeting at the hotel — neither had to leave the premises, naturally. But the queue of people waiting to see the Bangladeshi leader is impressive, like one outside an Apple store on the eve of an ilaunch, minus rucksacks.
Fortune 500 dinner
Indians started out with an ambitious guest list of 100 from the Fortune 500 list of the world’s richest. That number plunged to 60, and just when officials began to deal with despair, the number fell further — 39, and then some recovery, to 42.
And guess what was driving these numbers crazy — one of the factors, at least — Pope Francis’s visit, which everyone knew would throw Manhattan’s traffic, which moves slower at times than Connaught Place’s Outer Circle, would come to a standstill because of people coming in from outside for a “darshan”.
Many parts of Manhattan are being shut down on Friday when the pope addresses the UN, and then holds a mass at Madison Square Garden, where Prime Minister Modi received a rockstar reception from the Indian American community a year ago. – From The Hindustan Times