Washington, Apr 20: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit the US on June 7 and 8, a bipartisan group of four top American lawmakers said today and asked the Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan to invite him for a joint meeting of the Congress.
There has been no official announcement from either the White House or the Prime Minister's Office in New Delhi. "Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Washington on June 7 and 8 of this year," Congressmen Ed Royce, Eliot Engel, George Holding and Ami Bera said in a letter to Ryan.
Royce is Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee and Engel is its Ranking Member. Holding and Bera are Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.
"Given the depth of our relationship with India across a range of areas -- defence, humanitarian and disaster relief, space cooperation, conservation, and innovation, -- we believe this is an ideal opportunity for the Congress to hear directly from the Prime Minister," they said.
"Therefore, we ask that you invite Prime Minister Modi to address a Joint Meeting of Congress. It is our understanding that if invited, the Prime Minister would accept," the four lawmaker said in their letter dated April 19, a copy of which was released to the press.
The bipartisan group of Congressmen said the US partnership with India is based on a foundation of shared values, including the rule of law, electoral democracy, and religious pluralism.
"This renewed partnership has found champions in the leadership of both parties, including both President Clinton and President George W Bush, and has been further emboldened in the United States by a strong, proud, and growing Indian-American diaspora," the letter said.
Observing that US-India relationship has seen significant growth, the Congressmen said the US President Barack Obama has visited India twice, and Modi reciprocated with two trips of his own to the United States.
"Our two countries have signed a defense framework agreement to increase military cooperation and the civilian nuclear agreement, signed in 2008, will result in the construction of nuclear power plants in India," the letter said.
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"Additionally, the United States and India are forging closer ties to address humanitarian crises, such as the aftermath of the earthquake in Nepal, in the renewable energies sector, and in space exploration.
It is no wonder that the partnership has been characterised as the defining partnership of the 21st century," it said. "The US-India relationship consistently garners strong bipartisan support. Inviting Prime Minister Modi to address a Joint Meeting will allow Congress to express support for this special global partnership," the four top American lawmakers said.