Modi’s second US visit will create history, first Indian PM to address US Congress twice

Indian Prime Minister Narandra Modi

On the invitation of US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the United States from June 21 to June 24. In a historic gesture, Prime Minister Modi will address a joint session of the United States Congress on June 22.

The invitation to deliver such a historic speech was extended by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, demonstrating bipartisan support and respect for Prime Minister Modi in the United States. He would be the first Indian Prime Minister to address a joint session of the United States Congress twice.

The invitation letter from the President and First Lady praised PM Modi’s last historic address seven years ago, which helped cement the connection between the two countries.

The White House emphasised in its message that it was an occasion to reaffirm the two countries’ deep and close alliance. PM Modi expressed his thanks for the privilege and stated that he was looking forward to addressing the joint session.

In his message, PM Modi reiterated the pride in having a Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership with the US founded on the principles of democratic values, close people-to-people ties and a staunch commitment to global peace and prosperity.

Kurt Campbell, the US administration’s top official for the Indo-Pacific region, states that this visit may help consecrate the relationship with India as the most important for the USA in the world. Hailing India for playing a critical role globally, he mentions that a number of business and investment groups are looking at India for new investment opportunities to diversify the global supply chains.

With the US universities looking to train more engineers and technology specialists, Campbell stated that the US wants more such opportunities to open up for Indians.

Indian diaspora in the US is also eagerly awaiting PM Modi’s arrival. An ‘India Unity March’ will be organised in 20 different cities in the US on June 18 to welcome PM Modi. Highlighting India’s growth and development in the past nine years, a grand cultural event will be organised in front of the White House on June 21.

The preparation for this visit is already underway with strategic visits of the USA’s Secretary of Defence and National Security Advisor to India prior to PM Modi’s US visit. Lloyd J. Austin, Secretary of Defence, visited India on June 4-5 to fortify defence partnerships and advance partnerships in critical domains.

In his meeting with Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, views were exchanged on a range of regional security issues. The US also reiterated its commitment to collaborating closely on the issues pertaining to the Indo-Pacific.

A new roadmap to US-India Defence Industrial Cooperation has been concluded which will expedite technology cooperation and co-production in fields like land mobility systems, air combat, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, undersea domain and munitions.

With this, a set of proposals is also to be formulated to help India gain access to cutting-edge technologies that will boost India’s defence modernization plan. In this regard, a new initiative called India-US Defense Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) to advance cutting-edge technology cooperation was also appreciated by the two leaders.

In their discussions, the rising importance of defence innovation and cooperation in emerging domains like space, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity also came up. The launch of the Advanced Domains Defence Dialogue was appreciated by the two counterparts and a further commitment to expand bilateral defence cooperation was emphasised.

During the discussion, the collaboration between the US and Indian companies, investors, start-up accelerators, and academic research institutions was emphasised which have also committed to strengthening operational collaboration across all military services, with an eye to supporting India’s leading role as a security provider in the Indo-Pacific.

In his meeting with Indian NSA Ajit Doval, perspectives on shared security in the Indian Ocean Region and the scope for greater maritime collaboration also came up. India’s leadership in the QUAD Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness Initiative (IPMDA), aimed at providing cutting-edge domain awareness capability to countries across the Indo-Pacific region was welcomed by Secretary Lloyd J. Austin.

The Secretary of Defence’s visit will be followed by the visit of US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on June 13 to chart out the security agenda for the two global leaders during PM Modi’s visit to the US. NSA Sullivan will be finalizing the GE-414 engine details, sharing counter-cyber threat technologies, and fine-tuning the position of the two countries on the Russia-Ukraine war.

The visit of PM Modi to the US is nothing short of historic. It will propel the two nations to forge greater cooperation in a world that is witnessing great geopolitical flux, growth of traditional and non-traditional threats, and issues of common concern. The invitation is an overture by the US acknowledging India’s growing global stature and the critical role India is placed to play in world affairs. 

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