Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit will highlight the growing collaboration between India and the US and their “shared leadership” on the world stage, the White House said on the eve of his arrival in Washington.
“This visit celebrates the remarkable transformation in US-India ties. Over the last seven years, the United States and India have cemented an enduring bond of friendship, built on democratic values, open societies, and a respect for a rules-based order,” a senior administration official told PTI.
At the invitation of President Barack Obama, Modi arrives in the US capital on Tuesday afternoon as he and Obama are scheduled to meet at the Oval Office.
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The President will host a lunch for the Prime Minister after the meeting.
“The Prime Minister’s visit will also highlight the growing collaboration between our two countries and, more consequentially, our shared leadership on the world stage,” the official said.
“From addressing climate change and providing clean energy solutions, to deepening our economic and trade ties, to preserving cyberspace as an engine for growth and development, to protecting our shared spaces on the sea, in the air, and in space, the world is better when the United States and India lead together,” the official said.
On Wednesday, Modi will address a joint meeting of the US Congress, the first foreign leader to do so this year and also the first to address a joint meeting of the Congress under Speaker Paul Ryan.
Meanwhile two leading US dailies – the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal – have said that Obama building a relationship with Modi is primarily aimed at China.
The two leaders “have each invested in developing a close relationship”, Benjamin J Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor was quoted as saying by NYT.
The daily said the US is encouraging the rise of India as a giant Asian partner to balance China, and India is trying to accelerate its economy with an injection of investment from American companies.
The Wall Street Journal said among the factors propelling India-US the relationship is China’s growing footprint in India’s traditional sphere of influence in the Indian Ocean.
The White House is looking to increase economic and defence cooperation during the visit and to cement the new momentum in ties before turning the relationship over to the next US president, WSJ reported.
Since their first meeting at the White House in September 2014, after Modi came to power in May that year, the two leaders have met six times.
Obama was the first foreign leader to congratulate Modi over the phone after his historic victory.
“The hours they’ve spent together have allowed them to have a good understanding of their respective worldviews and domestic circumstances, and made it possible to deepen defence ties, advance our civil nuclear cooperation and achieve a breakthrough on climate change,” Rhodes said, “It is also an indication of how important President Obama thinks our relationship is with India, as the world’s largest democracy and an increasingly important partner.”
“For each country, the other country has really emerged as an incredibly important and vital partner,” an administration official was quoted as saying by WSJ.
“India has global interests, and it’s looking to protect those interests, but it lacks sufficient capability to do that. So India is looking to make a big bet on the United States to help it gain that capacity. And we are very comfortable with helping India do that,” the daily reported.
“India made a big shift under Prime Minister Modi,” the official was quoted as saying by WSJ according to which Obama sees a gradual change in India’s role in the world as one of his major achievements.
“I think it’s really hard to overestimate the rapid pace of progress in our defence relationship,” the official said.