PM gifted books, Pashmina shawl to Obamas in 2009

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Jan 19 (PTI) Stories from the Panchatantraand a collection of Gandhian era pictures, besides a burgundyrug and a Pashmina shawl were among the items gifted by PrimeMinister Manmohan Singh to the US First Couple during hisState Visit to Washington in 2009.

The Federal Register reported that the most expensivegifts from the Prime Minister to President Barack Obama was acollection of books with an estimated value of USD 3,572.

The books included ''Stories from the Panchatantra'',''Ancient Tales of Wit and Wisdom'', ''The Puffin Treasury ofModern Indian Stories'', ''A History of Ancient and EarlyMedieval India'' and ''The Gandhi Collection: History in theMaking: The Visual Archives of Kulwant Roy''.

Singh presented to Obama a burgundy rug with a foliatemotif worth USD 1,200, while to Michelle he gifted a beigePashmina shawl worth USD 666 made by the Kashmir Loom Company.

All the presents were sent to the National Archives asAmerican law bars any US government official from receiving apresent from a foreign government.

The Federal Register said Obama and others acceptedthe gifts because "non-acceptance would cause embarrassment tothe donor and the US government".

According to the Federal Register, Gursharan Kaur,wife of the Prime Minister, presented to the First LadyMichelle two silver enamel sculptures of a kingfisher and aparrot, which has an estimated value of USD 1,400.

In 2009, the Prime Minister also presented to VicePresident Joe Biden, the statue of a jungle fowl rooster on awooden base, having an estimated cost of USD 550.

However, Biden was permitted to retain for officialuse only the other gift he received from the Prime Ministerduring the State visit.

This was 45 inch by 67 inch multicoloured rug with arepeating floral medallion design on an ivory field with threeborders, having an estimated cost of USD 440.

Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs ofStaff, also received gifts from the then Indian Army ChiefDeepak Kapoor in 2009, the Federal Register said.

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