Fourth US Visit in Two Years, Modi to Consolidate and Celebrate

Must read

Washington, DC – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be here again from June 6-8 (fourth visit in two years) to lay a wreath, attend a working lunch with the US President, address American lawmakers and interact with business leaders.

During an interaction with Indian origin journalists on June 1 to highlight the visit details, Arun K. Singh, Indian Ambassador to the US said, “A lot of progress has been made in the two terms of (US) President (Barack) Obama. And then to celebrate that, see where we are and then launch it into the new administration. That has been the thrust and effort related to this visit.”

Labeling the visit as “Consolidation and Celebration,” Ambassador Singh said it would consolidate what was already achieved. With an eye on the US presidential elections this year, Ambassador Singh noted that India would be looking at what more could be done, “when there would be transition of administration in the US and to celebrate the achievements in the relationship.”

Scheduled to arrive at Andrews Joint Air Force Base on June 6, Modi will lay wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery that afternoon. Ashton Carter, US Secretary of Defense, is expected to call on him the same day.

Modi will stay at Blair House on Pennsylvania Avenue across from the White House. On June 7 he will be attending a working lunch with President Obama, along with meetings at the delegation level, following which the two will address journalists.

Later on the evening of June 7, Modi will have an audience with some top American business leaders and then address the 41st annual meeting of the US India Business Council (USIBC).

“Important dimension of his visit would be his address to the joint session of the Congress (on 8 June),” Ambassador Singh said. Modi will be the fifth Prime Minister of India to do so. Earlier Indian Prime Ministers who addressed Joint Sessions of the US Congress are Manmohan Singh (July 19, 2005), Atal Bihari Vajpayee (September 14, 2000), P. V. Narasimha Rao (May 18, 1994) and Rajiv Gandhi (July 13, 1985).

After the address, Modi will join House Speaker Paul Ryan for lunch and then head to a reception hosted by the Senate and House foreign relations committees, thus spending more than four hours on “Capitol Hill,” the seat of US legislature. “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,” noted Ambassador Singh.

Without going into details, Ambassador Singh said several agreements are in the pipeline ahead of Modi’s visit, but sources are not optimistic about a breakthrough in the ongoing negotiations between nuclear reactor builders Westinghouse and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd for six reactors. Although the US with much fanfare announced civil nuclear cooperation with India in 2005, there is still no sign of first commercial agreement between two nations.

Earlier last month, the White House press secretary confirmed that President Obama will meet with him on June 7 to discuss “progress made on our climate change and clean energy partnership, security and defense cooperation, and economic growth priorities.”

The press secretary didn’t mention any specific agenda for PM Modi’s fourth visit in two years, but said, “The visit will highlight the deepening of the US-India relationship in key areas since the President’s visit to New Delhi in January 2015.”

It may be mentioned that since Obama’s visit to India in January 2015, Modi has visited the US on two occasions: September 24-30, 2015 and March 31- April 1, 2016. Modi’s first visit after becoming Prime Minister was on September 26-30, 2014.

Continuing his trips abroad, Modi reaches the neighboring country of Mexico later on June 8.

More articles

Latest article