Narendra Modi to Become First Indian PM to address US Congress 2nd Time
Narendra Modi to Become First Indian PM to address US Congress 2nd Time

WASHINGTON:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited by US Congress leaders to speak to a joint session of lawmakers during his planned state visit in June, making him the first Indian leader to receive this prestigious honour that Washington, D.C. bestows upon foreign heads of state. However, New Delhi has not yet confirmed if the Prime Minister has accepted the offer.

"During your address, you will have the opportunity to share your vision for India's future and speak to the global challenges our countries both face," wrote House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries in a letter sent to Modi on Friday. 

This invitation, which transcends the political parties in power on both sides and the occupants of 7 Race Course and the White House, highlights the bipartisan backing that US relations with India enjoy.

On June 22, at President Joe Biden's invitation, Prime Minister Modi will make his first official visit to the US, which will include a state supper, the first for an Indian leader in 14 years. Former President Barack Obama hosted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the final guest in 2009.

Narendra  Modi will, nevertheless, hold the distinction of being the only Indian Prime Minister to speak twice before the US Congress. The phrase he chose to describe the difficult trip the bilateral relationship had made in his inaugural speech from 2016—that it had "overcome the hesitations of history"—has stuck in people's minds.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the fourth in 2000, Rajiv Gandhi was the second in 1985, P.V. Narasimha Rao was the third in 1994, and Manmohan Singh was the fifth in 2005. In 2016, Modi became the sixth Indian Prime Minister to address Congress, whether jointly or separately. Jawaharlal Nehru was the first, speaking to the House and Senate separately in 1949.

Narendra Modi might potentially make history by becoming the first Indian Prime Minister to address Congress twice and the sixth and seventh overall. 

Two members of the House of Representatives, Ro Khanna and Micheal Waltz, who are the leaders of the India Caucus, sent this invitation to Modi. 

At an India summit they sponsored on Capitol Hill in April for politicians, policy experts, and Indian American community leaders to discuss the future of the India-US relationship, they first made it known that they intended to approach Speaker McCarthy to invite Modi.

The four congressional leaders, who represent both the Democratic and Republican parties, responded to their letter to Speaker McCarthy last week asking him to meet Prime Minister Modi.

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