Narendra Modi gets invite to address US Congress

Uncle Sam`s embrace of Narendra Modi is complete. From denying him a visa to enter United States to inviting him to address a joint session of the US Congress, Washington appears keen to build bridges with India`s new Prime Minister.

Updated: Jun 22, 2014, 06:00 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: Uncle Sam`s embrace of Narendra Modi is complete. From denying him a visa to enter United States to inviting him to address a joint session of the US Congress, Washington appears keen to build bridges with India`s new Prime Minister.

Modi is expected to address the Congress when he visits Washington in September around the UN General Assembly session, to be held in New York. President Barack Obama was among the first to congratulate Modi on his election victory in mid-May and invited him to the White House.

Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Congressman George Holding in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, requested that Narendra Modi be allowed to address a joint meeting of Congress.
"As you know, India is a critical partner of the United States. In every aspect - whether it be in political, economic or security relations - the United States has no more important partner in South Asia. It is not an overstatement to say that the US-India relationship will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century," Royce and Holding wrote to Boehner.

"In every aspect – whether it be in political, economic or security relations – the United States has no more important partner in South Asia. It is not an overstatement to say that the US-India relationship will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century," the letter said.

Modi`s predecessor Manmohan Singh was the last Indian PM to address a joint session of the US Congress when he visited Washington in 2005.

"We are writing to request that Mr Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, be granted the honour of addressing a Joint Meeting of Congress when he travels to Washington, DC this September.

"With more than 500 million people voting in the recent Indian election, it was both the world`s largest democratic event and an historic moment for India. The US must now work closely with Prime Minister Modi to strengthen the important relationship between the two countries," they wrote.

Narendra Modi, as Gujarat CM, was denied a visa over 2002 riots. However, after it became clear that he may win Lok Sabha polls, the US warmed upto him.