New Delhi: Narendra Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister in over a decade to stay at the US President's guest house - the 190-year-old Blair House - when he travels to Washington on September 29.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the last one to stay at the guest house. "Built as a private home in 1824, Blair House has played an important role in nearly 190 years of American political, diplomatic and cultural history from Andrew Jackson's 'Kitchen Cabinet', to private chats with Abraham Lincoln, to Harry S Truman's crucial leadership as World War II ended and the Cold War began.
"Now, as then, US Presidents continue to rely on Blair House as a significant foreign policy tool," as per the official information.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh never stayed in the Blair House and always preferred a hotel during his US visits.
The Blair House is the designated guest house of the US president where all his state guests are traditionally known to have stayed.
Located across from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, Blair House has served as the President's Guest House since its purchase by the US government in World War II and under the stewardship of the Department of State, it welcomes visiting heads of states and other top dignitaries.
In New York, Modi, like Singh, will stay at the New York Palace Hotel in Manhattan when he arrives on September 26 late afternoon. His first public engagement next day would be a visit to Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Centre which was destroyed in the terror attacks by al-Qaeda in 2001 followed by a visit to the 9/11 Memorial Museum built in the honour of the victims of 2001 attacks.
Modi will then proceed towards the United Nations to deliver the speech at the General Assembly, scheduled in the first half of the day.
The Prime Minister will then have a series of bilateral meetings including one with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina. In the evening, Modi is scheduled to visit the Central Park where he will attend Global Citizen festival.
According to sources here, the Prime Minister will be meeting Jewish groups on September 28, the day on which he will also address thousands of Indian-Americans at the famous Madison Square Garden.
US President Barack Obama will host a dinner for Modi on his arrival in Washington on September 29 from New York.
Significantly, the US President's dinner meet is not a usual practice and is normally accorded to foreign visitors on state visits.
The dinner meeting would be the first opportunity for Modi and Obama to interact with each other and will set the
stage for the summit meeting on September 30.
Vice-President Joe Biden will host a working lunch for Modi on September 30 after which the Prime Minister will travel to Capitol Hill to meet House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner.
In Washington, DC, he will also meet businessmen at an event hosted by the US-India Business Council.