Grandest and most glamorous affair

Over the past several decades a state dinner honouring a visiting head of the government has emerged as one of the grandest and most glamorous of White House affairs, which is part of an official state visit and provides the President and First Lady the opportunity to honour the visiting head of state and his or her spouse.

For the US President, the State Dinner is a courtesy – an expression of good will – a way of extending hospitality. It not only brings to mind the tradition of breaking bread with friends to seal a friendship, but also is an event that also showcases global power and influence.
The traditional toasts exchanged by the two leaders at the dinner offer an important and appropriate platform for the continuation of the serious dialogue that has taken place earlier in the day.

And the very fact that Singh has the rare distinction of having the honour of being the State Guest on two occasions and that two by the two different presidents from different parties, has its own mute story to tell and the personal rapport he has been able to establish with the US leaders with his leadership role.

Even though the relationship between India and the US immediately after independence was not that good, the then US President John F Kennedy had invited Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for the State Dinner on November 7, 1961. In recent times, the term state dinner has come to mean more specifically a dinner hosted by the President honouring a foreign head of state as the guest of honour.

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