Washington, June 9: Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his over four-hour visit to the US Capitol established personal rapport with top lawmakers and seems to have won over his critics.
"With your sense of humour and the way you delivered that speech, I think really identifies why we have such close ties," Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations committee said as he welcomed Modi during a congressional reception hosted in his honour.
"The fact is that our political, strategic and economic ties is better than they have ever been. We know that these are going to be even greater. While our ties are with the people of India, we know that with you as their leader the possibilities are an all-time high," Corker said.
Less than a month ago, Corker during a Congressional hearing was highly critical over the pace of economic reforms, human rights situation and religious freedom, and slamming Obama Administration of not being "brutally honest" in its conversation with his government.
Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who for the past two weeks have been raising the issue of human rights and slavery in India, said that Modi yesterday "gained a lot of friends" in the Congress.
Referring to Modi's call for India and the US working together for the benefit of the world, Cardin said this was a very powerful message. "His presence, the amount of time he spent and his own personality is very helpful in getting friends here in America," he told PTI. Modi yesterday spent more than four hours at the Hill.
The Speaker of the US House of Representative Paul Ryan and several top Congressional leaders received him.
He received standing ovations as many as nine times according to unofficial count and was applauded by scores of times by the members of the Congress. "He (Modi) spoke eloquently about the importance of a strong US-India relationship to promoting peace and freedom around the globe," Ryan said in a statement.
"We understand that India is in a tough neighbourhood, but we also understand that with your words here today, that you have, with that symphony that you spoke of, set a new note," said Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "The Indian-American community has brought such incredible energy to this relationship.
It's the secret weapon for both countries, driving stronger engagement and helping keep things on track during challenging times. "So Mr. Prime Minister, your visit will energise this work even further.
And I'm confident that Congress will remain focused on India as an anchor of stability in the region and a key American partner in Asia," said Congressman Elliot Engel, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.