US lawmakers want Modi to address US Congress

20 Apr 2016 | By Achin Garg

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the US for a bilateral summit with President Barack Obama around the 7-8th of June.

Senior US lawmakers have written to House speaker Paul Ryan to use this opportunity to invite PM Modi to address a joint session of the Congress.

The invitation would be a sharp turnaround for Modi who was once barred from visiting the US.

In context: Modi's changing perception in the US

18 Mar 2005Modi denied US Visa

Narendra Modi was denied a US Diplomatic Visa in 2005, and his business/tourist visa was also revoked under Section 212 (a)(2)(g) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act.

The section makes any foreign official involved in a violation of religious freedom ineligible for US visa.

The denial of visa apparently held him responsible for the communal riots in Gujarat that took over 2000 lives.

Indian SC absolves Modi of all charges

The Indian Supreme Court had given a clean chit to Narendra Modi in 2010 over his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots and said that he had no case to answer.
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29 Sep 2014US rolls out red carpet for Modi

In a dramatic reversal of the status of Narendra Modi after his victory in the general elections in May 2014, the US offered a royal reception to the Indian PM.

Questions of Modi getting a visa were dismissed when President Obama congratulated him and invited him to Washington.

PM Modi attended a dinner with President Obama and held talks on various issues.

30 Sep 2015Modi visits the US for a second time

PM Modi visited the US to address the annual session of the UN General Assembly.

The PM's visit was marked by a visit to the US West coast, where he met tech giants including Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Sundar Pichai, etc. to pitch the idea of Digital India.

He also met President Obama and discussed various issues including trade, security, climate change, etc.

30 Mar 2016PM attends the Nuclear Security Summit in US

PM Modi attended a 2-day Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) organised as an initiative of President Obama.

The summit was aimed at coordinating global efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons or materials.

A bilateral visit could not be organised at the time due to the paucity of time.

However, during a brief interaction President Obama invited PM Modi to the US.

20 Apr 2016US lawmakers want Modi to address US Congress

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Addressing the US Congress

Addresses to the US Congress, House of Representatives (lower house) and Senate (upper house) are considered a great honour. Last year only two dignitaries, Pope Francis and the Japanese PM Shinzo Abe had the opportunity to do so.

20 Apr 2016Frequent interaction marks ascendancy in relations

The United States House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, the Ranking Democratic member Eliot Engel, and Representatives George Holding, and others had asked the speaker to invite Modi to address the Congress.

The invitation highlights the importance Washington attaches to its relations with New Delhi.

PM Modi's visit could be his last substantive interaction with President Obama before the latter demits office.