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Sumptuous spread at PM's luncheon for Zardari

Delhi,Diplomacy,Indo-Pak/Pakistan,Lifestyle/Fashion, Sun, 08 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) It was a Sunday feast in the best of non-vegetarian and vegetarian cuisine that was on offer at the lunch hosted by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for visiting Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.


The luncheon, held at an elegant long table in the dining room of 7, Race Course Road, the prime minister's official residence, covered with a beige table cloth and decorated with vases full of yellow roses and silver cutlery, was for a selected group of Indian and Pakistani leaders.


Zardari, according to some Pakistani mediapersons, is a vegetarian.


The first course was a cold melon and mint soup, followed by starters that included pakoras of sarson ke phool, vegetable shammi kebab and mini masala dosa for the vegetarians. For the non vegetarians, murgh seekh and gosht barra kebabs were on offer.


The main course comprised kareli dal mutton, chicken kofta makhni, sikandari raan and a variety of Indian breads.


For the rice lovers, kachi gosht biriyani was also on offer.


For the vegetarians, the menu was equally tempting. Tori bhujia, paneer jalfrezi, makai palak, mixed vegetables, moong dal tadka and vegetable biryani.


The lunch ended on a sweet note with desserts including blueberry mousse, gur ka sandesh, phirni and fresh fruit salad.


Sources, present at the lunch, said it was a four-course meal.


Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and Bilawal Bhutto, Zardari's son and chairman of ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP), sat next to each other and were seen chatting with each other.


Others present included Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, opposition leaders Sushma Swaraj and L.K. Advani.


From the Pakistani side, besides the Zardaris, the others were Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jaleel Abbas Jilani and High Commissioner Shahid Malik.


Notable absentees were Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh's wife Gurcharan Kaur.


The other members of the Pakistani entourage were hosted for lunch by the prime minister's security head, K Durga Prasad, chief of the Special Protection Group (SPG).


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