In ongoing bilateral efforts to enhance relationships between India and the US, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting the US next month on a two day visit and will meet with US President Barrack Obama at the White House on June 7. This will be Modi’s fourth visit to the States in the capacity of PM of India and the second to the White House. In their meeting, Obama and Modi will discuss bilateral issues such as clean energy, economic growth, climate change, security and other issues. The White House said that this meeting would highlight deepening bilateral relationships between US and India in strategic areas.
Modi will also be accorded the honour of addressing both houses of the US Congress on the next day after the meeting. US House Speaker, Paul Ryan remarked that the US-Indian relationship was “a pillar of stability in a very, very important region.”
The opportunity to address the American Congress is not extended to many foreign leaders. Last year, Pope Francis and the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were given this rare opportunity. This year it will be Modi. Lunch with US Senators will follow Modi’s Congress address.
This is quite a change of affairs for Modi who was once denied a US visa and stopped from gaining entry into the US over accusations of encouraging anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in which more than a 1000 Muslims were killed. The Bush administration had cited a 1998 human rights law barring entry to foreigners who had committed particularly severe violations of religious freedom. Modi has pleaded innocence since, and the Supreme Court of India has trashed the case.
However, as soon as Modi became PM in 2014, Obama lost no time in inviting Modi to visit the US as the US President has been keen to enhance relationships with India as a measure to counter-balance China’s growing strength and power in Asia. The US would like India to adopt a greater military role in East Asia, and would also like to have greater business and trade interactions with the country. A series of agreements on military issues and trade are likely to be signed.
On the agenda is also a Westinghouse Electric nuclear deal to build six nuclear reactors in India. The US and India had agreed in 2008 to cooperate in the nuclear field for peaceful purposes. This deal has been on the table for quite a while now. For Modi clean nuclear energy is an important way of decreasing the alarming levels of pollution in the country and would also decrease dependence on imports of gas and oil. Modi’s main agenda has been reforms in the country and it’s advancement.
From India’s point of view, “The main objective of the forthcoming visit of the Prime Minister would be to consolidate the progress made in diverse areas such as economy, energy, environment, defence and security and to intensify cooperation for the future.” the MEA said.