Washington, May 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's scheduled address to joint session of the Congress next month will give American people an opportunity to welcome him and illustrate their admiration and commitment as strategic partners to the Indian people, a US lawmaker has said.
"This historic address gives Congress and the American people an opportunity to welcome our friend Prime Minister Modi and further illustrate our admiration and commitment as strategic partners to the Indian people," Congressman Pete Sessions, Chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee said.
Modi is scheduled to address a joint meeting of the US Congress on June 8 at the invitation of Paul Ryan, Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
"I am delighted to welcome Modi to the US Capitol and sincerely look forward to hearing his remarks on the deep ties and relationship between the US - the modern world's oldest democracy and the world's largest democracy, India," Sessions said in response to a question.
Modi will only be the fifth Indian Prime Minister to address a joint session of the US Congress. Others being Manmohan Singh (July 19, 2005), Atal Bihari Vajpayee (September 14, 2000), P V Narasimha Rao (May 18, 1994) and Rajiv Gandhi (July 13, 1985).
The tradition of foreign leaders and dignitaries addressing Congress began with Marquis de Lafayette of France, who spoke in the House chamber on December 10, 1824. Pope Francis was the last foreign leader to address a joint meeting of the Congress in September 2015.
Given that this is an election year, Modi might be the only foreign leader to have the distinction to address a joint meeting of the Congress this year and into early next year.
Sessions said as the branch of government most closely tied to the American people, the United States Congress seeks to consider legislation that would be beneficial to both the countries.