Modi started the second day of his five-day visit to the US by paying tributes at the memorial, also known as Ground Zero, where the twin towers of the iconic World Trade Center(WTC) were destroyed in the unprecedented terror attack on September 11, 2001.
Dressed in a spotless white kurta and churidars and a grey shawl thrown on his left shoulder, a sombre looking Modi gently placed rose buds one by one--five in all--on the grey granite memorial slabs where names of the victims were etched, stood for a while and folded his hands. Modi, who was in a reflective mood, also visited the 9/11 museum, that displays artifacts associated with the events of the terror attack while presenting stories of loss and recovery.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by India's Ambassador to the US S Jaishankar and other officials. Modi's visit to the memorial of the terror attack in which the dreaded al-Qaeda crashed two hijacked passenger jets into the twin towers is seen as a significant gesture of support by India to the war on terror. Terror is expected to be high on the agenda of Modi's talks with President Barack Obama on September 29 and 30.
The 9/11 Memorial was inaugurated by Obama in May this year. The National September 11 Memorial and Museum commemorates the terror attacks which killed 2,977 people, including 40 Indians, and the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, which killed six.
Names of nine Indian victims are inscribed on the granite panels of the 9/11 memorial -- Ganesh K Ladkat, Anil Shivhari Umarkar, Sushil S Solanki, Alok Kumar Mehta, Shekhar Kumar, Alok Agarwal, Jayesh Shantilal Shah, Yudhvir S Jain and Hashmukh C Parmar. The memorial is located at the WTC site, on the former location of the Twin Towers, which were destroyed during the attacks.
The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation was renamed the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center in 2007. The National September 11 Memorial Museum opened in May for the 9/11 community -- survivors, families, rescuers. Shortly after it opened to the general public.
The Museum's 110,000 square feet of exhibition space is located within the archaeological heart of the WTC site, telling the story of 9/11 through multimedia displays, archives, narratives and a collection of monumental and authentic artifacts.