Washington: Amartya Sen, Indian economist and 1998 Nobel Prize winner in economics, has been felicitated with the National Medals of Arts and Humanities award by the US President Barack Obama at a glittering White House function here.

"We even have an economist, which we don't always get on stage," Obama said referring to 78-year-old Sen, before he presented the 2011 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities.

"Sen is being awarded the 2011 National Humanities Medal for his insights into the causes of poverty, famine, and injustice. By applying philosophical thinking to questions of policy, he has changed how standards of living are measured and increased our understanding of how to fight hunger," said the citation, read by a military aid of the US President.

Few minutes later, Sen was on the stage to receive the medal from Obama, both the Nobel Laureate was seen chatting on some issues. Nothing was audible though.

Sen also attended the White House reception hosted by President Obama on this occasion. The First Lady, Michelle also attended the awards ceremony.

The 2011 National Medal of Arts was also awarded to Will Barnet, Rita Dove, Al Pacino, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Martin Puryear, Mel Tillis, United Service Organization and André Watts.

And the 2011 National Humanities Medal was given to Kwame Anthony Appiah, John Ashbery, Robert Darnton, Andrew Delbanco, National History Day, Charles Rosen sand Teofilo Ruiz besides Sen.

"I condemn in the strongest possible terms the bombing of an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in India and the attempted attack on Israeli Embassy personnel in Georgia. The scourge of terrorism is an affront to the entire international community," Clinton said.

Meanwhile, American Jewish Committee condemned attacks on Israeli embassy staff in India and Georgia and said it is another ominous indication of how far terrorists, and their state sponsors, will take their war against Israel.

"The bombing in India, and attempted attack in Georgia, have the unmistakable fingerprints of Iran, and its terror proxy Hezbollah, which destroyed Israel's Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992, and, two years later, leveled the city's Jewish community center," said AJC executive director David Harris.

"Committed to never recognizing Israel’s legitimacy, Iran and Hezbollah will strike anywhere they can," added Harris, citing a recently foiled Hezbollah plot to attack the Israeli Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, as well as an Iranian plot to kill two rabbis and the Israeli ambassador in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Tali Yehoshua-Koren, wife of an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi, was injured when a bomb exploded their car. Another car bomb, found near the Israeli embassy in Tbilisi in Georgia, was neutralised safely.

"We pray for Yehoshua-Koren's speedy recovery, and we look to law-enforcement agencies in India and Georgia to speedily find and bring to justice those responsible," said Harris.

AJC's representative in India has been in close touch with the Israeli Embassy to express the agency’s concern and immediately contacted Indian authorities about the terrorist assault.

(Agencies)