Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in a “small interaction” with Indian community leaders instead of a high-profile 2014 Madison Square Garden-like public event during his visit to the US on June 25 and 26 when he is scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump.
Paucity of time for planning and lack of a “conducive atmosphere” were the key reasons for not organising a big event. The Indian embassy will organise a smaller community interaction with representatives from the Indian diaspora in the US.
Earlier, a community event in Houston was being planned, as Indian activists were quite enthusiastic about it. “But in the current political climate, a show of strength was not advisable,” a source involved in planning such events in the past, told The Indian Express.
Also, to organise such an event, planners typically need two to three months to mobilise the community, hire the venue and plan logistics. “The visit was confirmed quite late so it was not possible to organise a large-scale community event,” the source said.
While the Prime Minister addressed large gatherings in 2014 (Madison Square Garden) and in 2015 (San Jose), there was no community event in 2016 when he addressed the US Congress. “We had indeed looked at some options… but with the overall time factor, we don’t have the flexibility. But, in Washington DC, he will have a community interaction,” the Ministry of External Affairs’s official spokesperson, Gopal Baglay, said.
Baglay said India’s expectation from the meeting is that Modi and President Trump would give a new direction, set new priorities and consolidate gains from the past relationship.
Stressing that ties are already strong, the MEA spokesperson used an interesting analogy. “It’s not like a car parked in the garage, that you have to check its engine, tyre pressure and other such stuff.”
He said the relationship is based on “strong fundamentals” and is a “multi-faceted strategic partnership.” He said that during the visit, the two sides will discuss all areas of bilateral cooperation, including global security and terrorism.
Modi will reach Washington DC on June 24 and will stay there for two days. He will meet Trump in the White House on June 26.
On his way to the US, he will visit Portugal on June 24 and the Netherlands on June 27. Officials indicated that there are a slew of agreements planned during Modi’s visit to Lisbon and The Hague, as both have economic ties with India.
“In Portugal, the focus will be on scientific, cultural and economic cooperation. But in the Netherlands, the core of the relationship is economic ties,” he said, adding that the Netherlands is one of the leading investors in India.
However, there are no community events in either of these two countries.