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Till a year ago, Narendra Modi was persona non grata in Washington. But judging by the warmth with which he received the US president Barack Obama on Sunday in New Delhi, it seems he is letting bygones be bygones.

The Indian prime minister broke with protocol to greet and bear hug Obama as he landed at Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi. Usually, the prime minister meets foreign leaders at a formal ceremony at the presidential palace.

Modi was denied a US visa by president George W. Bush’s administration in 2005, following the Gujarat riots in 2002. More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in sectarian riots in the state while Modi was its chief minister. But almost immediately after 64-year-old Modi became the prime minister, he was invited by Obama to visit the US.

Both leaders seem keen to nurture a strong relationship. Obama is in India to attend the Republic Day parade, becoming the first US president to do so.

Reuters/Jim Bourg
US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive at Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi, Jan. 25.
AP Photo
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, bottom right wearing orange scarf, waits to welcome US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, Jan. 25.
Reuters/Jim Bourg
US President Barack Obama hugs India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he arrives at Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi Jan. 25.
AP Photo
US President Barack Obama, left, shakes hand with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, as first lady Michelle Obama stands beside them, upon arrival at the Palam Air Force Station in New Delhi, Jan. 25.
Reuters/Jim Bourg
U.S. President Barack Obama walks with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi upon arrival at Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi, Jan. 25.
AP Photo
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves as the car carrying US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama drive off at the Palam Air Force Station in New Delhi, Jan. 25.