New York: The lawsuit filed against Prime Minister Narendra Modi by a human rights group here would have no impact on "his very important visit" to Washington to meet US President Barack Obama, the White House said Friday.
"I don't anticipate that it (lawsuit) is going to have any impact on his very important visit here to the US and to the White House," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
"I can tell you that the visit is an opportunity to discuss a range of issues of mutual interest in order to expand and deepen the US-India strategic partnership," he said, adding that it is a partnership that is highly valued by this country and by this White House.
"We will discuss ways to accelerate economic growth, bolster security cooperation, and collaborate in activities that bring long term benefits to both countries and the world," Earnest said.
Modi, who arrived in New York today, is scheduled to meet Obama at the White House on Monday and Tuesday.
"We'll focus on regional issues, including current developments in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, where India and the US can work together with partners toward a positive outcome. The president himself looks forward to working with the prime minister to fulfill the promise of the US-India strategic partnership for the benefit of citizens in both our countries," the press secretary said.
Responding to questions about the lawsuit filed against Modi, Earnest said that as a general legal principle, sitting heads of government enjoy immunity from lawsuits in American courts while in the United States.
"Sitting heads of government also enjoy personal inviolability while in the United States, which means they cannot be personally handed or delivered papers to begin the process of a lawsuit," he said.
"In addition, as a matter of treaty, the heads of delegations to the UN General Assembly enjoy immunity while in New York to attend UN events," Earnest said, a day after a US court issued summons against Modi on his alleged role in 2002 communal riots in Gujarat when he was the chief minister.