Obama to host dinner for fasting Indian prime minister


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join President Barack Obama for dinner on Monday and attend a State Department lunch the next day. But there’s one hitch.

Modi isn’t going to eat any of the food.

The prime minister is in the midst of a nine-day fast dedicated to the Hindu goddess Durga and consumes only water or lemon water.

White House officials say the needs of visiting foreign leaders are always taken into account and that Modi’s fast should not affect the schedule during his first visit to Washington.

“We obviously try … to be respectful of the needs of all of the high-profile visitors that come to the White House and to be respectful of their observances,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday.

“It’s my understanding that we’re talking about a working dinner with a substantial number of people around the table. If Prime Minister Modi or other members who are participating in that working dinner and choose not to eat based on their own religious or cultural observance, then we’ll certainly work to accommodate their needs as best we can.”