Modi Coming Again This Year, US Lawmakers Push for Joint Address to Congress

US Congressman Ami Bera welcoming Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during one of his several current visits to the US

Must read

Washington, DC – Some prominent United States lawmakers are pushing to get globe trotting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address a joint meeting of Congress when he probably visits the US a second time this year, the latest being earlier this month for the Nuclear Security Summit.

In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07), Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, along with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Rep. George Holding (R-NC) requested that Modi be granted the opportunity to address a Joint Meeting of Congress. Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to travel to Washington in June.

The members wrote: “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Washington on June 7th and 8th of this year. Given the depth of our relationship with India across a range of areas — defense, humanitarian and disaster relief, space cooperation, conservation, and innovation, — we believe this is an ideal opportunity for the Congress to hear directly from the Prime Minister. Therefore, we ask that you invite Prime Minister Modi to address a Joint Meeting of Congress. It is our understanding that if invited, the Prime Minister would accept.”

Supporting their case, the lawmakers noted that, “two countries have signed a defense framework agreement to increase military cooperation and the civilian nuclear agreement, signed in 2008, will result in the construction of nuclear power plants in India.”

Giving further examples of cooperation, the letter said, “Additionally, the United States and India are forging closer ties to address humanitarian crises, such as the aftermath of the earthquake in Nepal, in the renewable energies sector, and in space exploration. It is no wonder that the partnership has been characterized as the defining partnership of the 21st century.”

Modi was denied a US visa in 2005 on the grounds of alleged human rights violations after the 2002 sanguinary Gujarat riots where over a thousand were killed and thousands more injured. But Modi has already visited the US thrice since taking office in 2014 as the Prime Minister of India.

Moreover, a detailed Congressional-mandated annual 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in India, released recently by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, continued to raise its concerns about those riot victims not receiving justice so far.

Citing the 2002 riots under the leadership of Modi, the report said, “Civil society activists continued to express concern about the Gujarat government’s failure to hold accountable those responsible for the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,200 persons, the majority of whom were Muslim.”

“On September 16, the Gujarat High Court’s acting Chief Justice assembled a new bench to hear the appeals from Maya Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi, along with others who authorities had sentenced to imprisonment for their role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. This was the fifth bench to hear these petitions,” the State Department report to Congress noted.

More articles

Latest article