Obama skips Waldorf, but Modi opts for it
NEW DELHI: PM Narendra Modi will be staying at New York’s iconic Waldorf-Astoria hotel this year, after US president Barack Obama refused to stay there.
While Barack Obama is apparently unwilling to run the risk of possible “bugging”, after Astoria was bought by a Chinese insurance company in 2014 even it means overturning a decades-old tradition, Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin don’t have such qualms.
The US administration has been worried that the Chinese, who have been accused of merrily stealing data and personal information from the State Department and White House, could have a field day with bugs and cyber spies amid the gilded chandeliers of the Waldorf.
But Modi and Putin evidently don’t share the same fears. The Indian Prime Minister will abandon the New York Palace Hotel this year, which has been a PMO favourite for many years. Instead, Modi will move into the Waldorf-Astoria during the time that he will be in New York, between September 23 and 28. Putin has also taken advantage of Obama’s absence and booked himself in there.
So has Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will be in New York during the UNGA’s high-level segment, and has booked his own suite of rooms at the Waldorf-Astoria. The former Hilton property was sold to the Chinese insurance company, Anbang Insurance company, which is owned by the husband of Deng Xiaoping’s granddaughter.