US President Joe Biden has invited India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a meeting in Washington this summer.
Although Modi has visited the US more than half dozen times since he became prime minister, they have mostly been official visits or working visits, often on the margins of trips to the United Nations in New York.
This will be his first State visit, considered to be the highest expression of friendly bilateral relations between two sovereign states, and characterised by official public ceremonies and a state dinner banquet.
Biden is said to have extended the invitation to the Prime Minister and the two sides are working on mutually convenient dates in June or July, according to PTI, which first reported the news. The state visit will precede India’s hosting of the G-20 summit in September, a milestone in the country’s diplomatic history.
The last state visit to the U.S by an Indian Prime Minister was in November 2009 when President Obama hosted Dr Manmohan Singh at the White House.
President Biden hosted French President Emanuel Macron for a state visit in December 2022, the only state visit so far at the Biden White House.
Besides the pomp, pageantry, and a state banquet at the White House, the state visit will also feature an address to the joint session of Congress.
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The invitation for a state visit comes amid efforts to achieve a quantum leap in bilateral ties, with India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his US counterpart Jake Sullivan tasked with launching a Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) initiative that officials suggest will top anything the two countries, long prone to mutual distrust, have achieved so far, including the civilian nuclear agreement of 2005.
“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,” a senior administration official told reporters in a conference call.
Sullivan and Doval met at the White House on Tuesday along with their respective high-powered delegations for the inaugural iCET dialogue, discussing a range of technology transfers, exchanges, and cooperation, including bilateral space cooperation.
Officials from the two sides met under the aegis of the U.S.-India Civil Space Joint Working Group (CSJWG) on Tuesday to discuss collaboration in Earth and space science as well as human space exploration, global navigation satellite systems, spaceflight safety and space situational awareness, and policies for commercial space.
Accounts of Indian presence in US space program, the stuff of diaspora lore, was visible in the US team that included Chirag Parikh, Deputy Assistant to the President and Executive Secretary of the National Space Council.
The two sides also signed a new Implementation Arrangement for a Research Agency Partnership between the National Science Foundation and Indian science agencies to expand collaboration in a range of areas — including artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and advanced wireless — “to build a robust innovation ecosystem between our countries.”
The US National Science Foundation is headed by Dr Sethuraman Panchanathan, an alumnus of IIT, Chennai, and IISc, Bangalore.