US ready to use PM Narendra Modi visit to elevate ties

Washington, Sep 26: As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed to the US for his summit with President Barack Obama, officials said it would provide them an opportunity to set forth their vision for this "defining partnership of the 21st century".

Hours ahead of Modi's scheduled arrival in New York Friday to start what he himself has called "a new chapter in our strategic partnership", senior administration officials said this was a "historic and pivotal moment" in the history of the two greatest democratic nations.

Obama and first lady Michele were "very excited and pleased" to welcome Modi, who for nearly a decade, had been shunned by the US for his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, to Washington and the White House, said the officials previewing the visit in a conference call.

The visit, they said, also comes in the context of Modi's sweeping "victory in India's historic elections and with a significant mandate from the people of India and a mandate for reform".

At their interactions at a private dinner Sep 29 and bilateral summit meeting the next day, the two leaders will discuss ways in which the US can play a "strong supportive role in the prime minister's objectives".

"As for our strategic relationship, we are looking to seize the opportunity" presented by Modi's visit to "reinvigorate this strategic partnership and also to elevate and extend the depth and breadth of the work that we are doing on issues of mutual interest".

The US "strongly supports a prosperous India that plays an important role on the global stage", officials said, and the Modi visit provides an "opportunity for the two leaders to set forth the vision for its defining partnership of the 21st century".


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