Modi’s US visit : Is about consolidation, celebration of ties


New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi's US visit next week at the invitation of President Barack Obama is about "consolidation" and "celebration" of bilateral ties, India's envoy to the US has said here. India-US relationship that has undergone a transformation since 2000 under three presidents.

An important dimension of Modi's June 6-8 visit at the invitation of President Barack Obama will be his address to a joint meeting of the US Congress on June 8 – eleven years after Washington revoked his visa under a religious freedom law passed by that very body. Modi, the fifth Indian Prime Minister to address the US Congress starting with Rajiv Gandhi, will also get another rare honour – a lunch hosted by the Republican Speaker Paul Ryan and a reception by the Republican chairs and top Democrats on the House and Senate Foreign Relations panels.

Modi is scheduled to arrive at the Joint Airforce Base, Andrews on June 6 and is expected to spend a little over 50 hours in the American Capital. While his schedule is still being given final shape by officials here, he is likely to lay wreath at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery the afternoon of his arrival.

The Prime Minister is likely to stay at Blair House, the personal guest house of the US President on Pennsylvania Avenue across the White House. Leaders of the two largest democracies of the world are scheduled to meet at the White House on June 7, which would include meetings at the delegation level and one-o-meeting, following which the two are likely to address mediapersons.

Thereafter Obama would host lunch for Modi. Later in the evening, Modi would interact with a select group of top American corporate leaders including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and address the annual gala of US India Business Council (USIBC) as part of his relentless effort to attract foreign direct investment in India. "Another important dimension of his visit would be his address to the joint session of the Congress (on June 8)," the Indian Ambassador said.

Modi is expected to spend some four hours at the Hill attending four back to back meetings. He would be received by House Speaker Paul Ryan who decided to invite Modi for his first joint address to the Congress. Ryan would also host a lunch for him. Thereafter Modi would attend a rare reception hosted in his honour by the Senate and House foreign relations committees and the India Caucuses in the House and the Senate.Some 400 people are likely to attend this reception.

"It is a reflection of the bipartisan support in the US to the relationship with India. It is also a reflection of the value people attach to this relationship," Singh said.

Describing the visit as consolidation and celebration of relationship, Singh said "consolidating what has been achieved so far and seeing what more can be done as we move into next year" when there would be transition of administration in the US and to celebrate the achievements in the relationship," Singh said.