Washington Breaks Silence on the Indian Prime Minister Modi’s US Visit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at Paro International Airport, Bhutan during his first visit abroad after assuming office

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Washington, DC – Indian Prime Minister is coming to the United States for an official visit this fall according to the US State Department. The ongoing silence on Modi visit since the days of the Indian general elections and subsequent crowning of former Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the Indian Prime Minister, was broken today (June 16).

Asked for any updates, Jen Psaki, the US State Department Spokesperson told journalists during the regular briefing, “I know obviously we’re looking forward to welcoming him this fall, but I don’t have any updates on the timing.”

The answer from Psaki puts the probable dates of Modi visit between September 22 to December 21 as the Fall Season in the US kicks off on September 22 in 2014.

Last week, the attempt to get a confirmation of the acceptance of Obama invitation by Modi, got a curt message from the White House, “Nothing to announce at this point beyond what was in the earlier call readout.”

This was in sharp contrast to Indian media reports going on for weeks now announcing Modi had accepted an invitation from Obama to have bilateral discussions in Washington in September.

Earlier confirming the visit in September, BJP national spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said in New Delhi, “Both countries can together play a positive role in the overall development of the world.”

Sources in Washington have rubbished Indian media reports that the meeting between Modi and Obama would mean that the US view on the Indian PM has come full circle from the time it imposed the visa ban and instead point to the repeated statements from the US State Department that the US would work with anyone who is elected the prime minister by the Indian electorate.

Addressing a special briefing in early May for the foreign media, the state department spokesperson Marie Harf said, “We will work very closely with whoever is the next prime minister of India, I can guarantee you that.”

The political pundits are watching the developing scenario while stressing the need for a strong US- India relationship.

Summarizing the sentiment, Ambassador Frank G. Wisner, a veteran US diplomat and former ambassador to India, told India America Today, “The US – Indian relationship is of the utmost importance to both countries. It is essential our two leaders get off to a strong start and not look back. President Obama has called to extend good wishes to Narendra Modi,” noting, “I am persuaded the latter will reciprocate. Too much is at stake.”

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