By: Pramod Thomas
US President Joe Biden is understood to have invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a state visit this summer, PTI has learnt.
The invitation has been accepted in principle and officials on both sides are now working on mutually convenient dates, according to multiple sources, who noted that it is currently in the early stages of logistical planning.
Given that India is hosting a series of events this year related to G-20 leading to a summit in September, which among others would be attended by Biden, it is reliably learnt that officials from the two sides are looking for appropriate dates in June and July when not only both the US House of Representatives and the Senate are in session but Modi has a couple of days at his disposal when he does not have a predetermined domestic commitment or international engagements.
At least a couple of days are required for the state visit, which among other things includes an address to the joint session of the US Congress and a state dinner at the White House. In addition to G-20, Modi has packed domestic and international commitments till the fall, before he hits the campaign trail for a series of crucial state assembly elections later this year.
Sources, who requested anonymity as they are not allowed to talk on this sensitive issue at this point of time, however, did not reveal when this invitation was delivered and who delivered this personal invitation from Biden to the Prime Minister’s Office.
Biden hosted French President Emanual Macron for his first state dinner last December.
Meanwhile, a senior administration official told reporters that Biden believes the partnership between India and the United States, which are the world’s leading knowledge economies, is essential to address major global challenges.
“President Biden views that as two of the world’s leading knowledge economies, this partnership is essential. He believes that no successful and enduring effort to address any of the major challenges that the world faces today, whether we’re looking at food or energy or health security, the climate crisis, or upholding a free and open Indo-Pacific, going to work without a US-India partnership at its heart,” a senior administration official told a group of Indian reporters here.
Prime Minister Modi had in Tokyo last year described the US-India relationship as a partnership of trust and a force for good global peace and stability.
“The US really views that this is in our strategic interest to support India’s rise as a global power. We see that in both the Quad and as India’s Presidency of the G-20. This describes a greater vision of this coherent US-Indo Pacific strategy that requires that both the US and India pull closer together and overcome long-standing obstacles to doing so,” said the senior administration official, requesting anonymity to reporters.
On Tuesday, India’s National Security Advisor Ajit K Doval along with his American counterpart Jake Sullivan launched the India-US initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies or iCET, which officials on both sides described as a “Next Big Thing” in the bilateral relationship of the two countries.
“While geopolitics is one dimension of what’s happening here, this is sort of more important, bigger than that. The US view is that our relationship with India is essential not just because of the way the world looks today, but rather that this is the next logical milestone of our relationship,” the official said.
“We view that what’s going on here it’s really even larger than 2006 (the year of the India-US civil nuclear deal),” he said.