Washington: In a rarest of the rare gesture, US President Barack Obama personally walked down to the White House portico to see off Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after a meeting with him at the Oval Office.
Those familiar with the strict White House protocol said that this was the 'rarest of the rare' gesture by the president, which they have not seen in the recent past.
Officials in the past have noted that Obama has great respect for the Prime Minister not only as a great leader and a statesman but also as an economist. The two leaders have enjoyed a great personal equation.
Obama had hosted his presidency's first state dinner for the Prime Minister in November 2009 and has described India and US as the indispensable partners of the 21st century.
In his remarks, Obama praised the Prime Minister.
"He has been a great friend and partner to the United States and to me personally during his tenure as Prime Minister of India," Obama said after meeting Singh on Friday.
"Across the board, Prime Minister Singh has been an outstanding partner," he added.
"Thank you so much for all your efforts to continue to strengthen ties between our two countries," Obama told Singh.
Singh too praised Obama for his commitment to the India-US relationship.
"During the time that I have been Prime Minister, and particularly during the time that President Obama and I have worked together, I think President Obama has made an outstanding contribution to strengthening, widening and deepening of our cooperation in diverse fields," Singh said.
"In the president, the United States has a leader who realises and recognises the contribution that a resurgent India can make not only to fighting poverty, but also to global peace and prosperity," Singh said.