I was always wondering who would get the first State Dinner and this one goes to India. It is all about diplomacy and the rift in Afghanistan, Pakistan with India on tow.
And the first state dinner of President Barack Obama's administration goes to ... India.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is coming to America for a state visit Nov. 24, just before Thanksgiving. Such visits include an elaborate arrival ceremony on the White House South Lawn, one-on-one time with the president and, in the evening, a state dinner.
It's a plum presidential nod of recognition for the world's largest democracy and most stable U.S. ally in a hostile corner of the world.
But why India first?
It was just four years ago that President George W. Bush and Singh raised their glasses and toasted the U.S.-India relationship at the start of a July 2005 state dinner.
Indian officials, however, have watched warily since then as the U.S. has become more engaged with its archrival, Pakistan, focusing on greater military cooperation in dealing with Islamist extremists there and in neighboring Afghanistan. Honoring Singh with what is considered one of the grandest and most glamorous of White House affairs 10 months into Obama's presidency may allay some of those concerns, along with perceptions that Pakistan has surpassed India as America's best friend in South Asia.
It also may be Obama's way of closing the loop with all the major U.S. allies as his freshman year in office draws to a fast close. read more here....