Modi expected to visit US in June: American lawmakers

Modi expectedWASHINGTON: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit the US in June, a bipartisan group of top American lawmakers have said while calling on the House of Representatives Speaker to invite him to address a joint session of the Congress during his fourth trip here in two years.

“Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Washington on June 7 and 8 of this year,” Congressmen Ed Royce, Eliot Engel, George Holding and Ami Bera said in a letter to House of Representatives Paul Ryan.

Royce is the Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee and Engel is its Ranking Member. Holding and Bera are Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.

“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,” they said in the letter.

“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,” the four lawmakers said in their letter dated April 19.

There has been no official announcement of the visit from either the White House or the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi.

The bipartisan group of Congressmen said the US partnership with India is based on a foundation of shared values, including the rule of law, electoral democracy, and religious pluralism.

“This renewed partnership has found champions in the leadership of both parties, including both President Clinton and President George W Bush, and has been further emboldened in the United States by a strong, proud, and growing Indian-American Diaspora,” the letter said.

Observing that US-India relationship has seen significant growth, the Congressmen said President Obama has visited India twice and Prime Minister Modi reciprocated with two trips of his own to the United States.

Modi also visited the US earlier this month for the Nuclear Security Summit.

“Our 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,” 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,” it said. -PTI

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