03:49 - Source: CNN
Indian PM Modi courts the U.S.

Story highlights

President Obama and Prime Minister Modi meet for the first time over dinner

Because of a religious fast, Modi consumed only warm water

Other guests dined on avocado salad and halibut

(CNN) —  

Diners who attended President Barack Obama’s evening meal Monday were treated to a three-course menu of fusion fare with hints of the subcontinent.

Not partaking: the guest of honor, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is midway through a strict religious fast. After encouraging other guests to eat, he sipped only warm water.

The timing of Modi’s visit, which coincides with the Hindu festival devoted to the goddess Shakti, wasn’t expected to deter from the high-level discussions on trade and security, White House officials said before Modi’s arrival.

And on Monday evening, guests including Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry did enjoy a gourmet meal from the White House kitchen during the working dinner.

Opinion: Why Modi’s visit matters

The menu included an avocado salad with goat cheese, crisped halibut with carrot ginger sauce and basmati rice, and mango crème brûlée.

Ahead of Modi’s trip to the United States, which includes a whopping 50 stops to visit with CEOs and a speech at the United Nations, officials said he intended to survive solely on “nimbu pani” – or water with lemon – for nine days.

At the White House Monday, Modi presented Obama with a copy of “The Bhagavad Gita According to Gandhi,” a Hindu religious text that was annotated and translated by the Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs posted several photos from the White House proceedings: