PM’s wife hosts lunch for spouses of African leaders

April 8th, 2008 - 9:48 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) As the African leaders discussed the future direction of India-Africa relations through their summit Tuesday, their spouses were treated to a sumptuous Indian lunch by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s wife Gursharan Kaur. The first ever India-Africa summit, which began here Tuesday, is being attended by leaders from 14 African countries. The leaders, including 10 heads of state, had a full day participating in the plenary session followed by lunch hosted by the prime minister and a retreat to talk informally.

Their spouses were hosted by Gursharan Kaur at the Taj Mansingh hotel where they were treated to a cultural programme and a feast of exotic dishes from all parts of India.

Later in the afternoon, they were scheduled to go for a bit of shopping, but most of the spouses decided to give it a miss and stay in their hotel rooms.

In the end, the wife of South African President Thabo Mbeki visited the Central Cottage Industries Emporium to shop for Indian artefacts.

Zanele Mbeki spent more than an hour at the government emporium, spending nearly Rs.50,000. “She bought some organza curtain cloth as well as some embroidered textiles,” said an official, who was there at the shopping expedition.

The emporium had stocked up with rare pieces of textiles from different parts of the country. Besides, it had set up live demonstration of Indian craftsmanship from Madhubani paintings to stone carving.

The leaders and their spouses were reunited at the formal banquet hosted by President Pratibha Patil in the evening, which was preceded by a cultural programme.

All leaders and their spouses will Wednesday visit Agra by a special aircraft to see the Taj Mahal.

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