Washington, Apr 29: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to a joint meeting of the US Congress will be an opportunity to energise efforts to improve bilateral ties, top American lawmakers from across the political divide have said.
Reflecting the strong bipartisan support to the India-US relationship, the lawmakers welcomed the decision of the House Speaker Paul Ryan to invite Modi to address the joint meeting.
"Speaker Ryan's decision to invite Prime Minister Modi to address Congress demonstrates the growing commitment to strengthening the strategic partnership between the US and India," said Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn in a joint statement.
Warner from the Democratic Party and Cornyn from the Republican Party are co-chairs if Senate India Caucus, the only country specific caucus in the US Senate. "As a key security partner with a flourishing economy, a thriving relationship with India presents tremendous opportunities to reach our joint economic and strategic goals.
Prime Minister Modi's visit presents an opportunity to energise efforts to improve bilateral ties between our two countries," Warner and Cornyn said after Ryan told reporters that he has invited Modi to address a joint meeting of the US Congress on June 8. In fact, Modi would be the first foreign leader to address a joint meeting of the Congress after Ryan became the Speaker last year.
"This will be the first joint meeting of this speakership. We certainly look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Modi in the United States Capitol this summer, I believe it's June 8th," Ryan said.
"India is the most populace democracy and soon it's going to be the most populace country. The friendship between our nations is a pillar of stability in a very, very important region. This address presents a special opportunity for us to deepen our ties with our ally, India," he said.
"It is a chance to hear from the prime minister on how we can work together to promote our shared values and to increase prosperity," Ryan said. Congressman Brad Sherman welcomed Ryan's decision. "I am pleased that India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be able to address a Joint Session of Congress this year," he said.
"In 2014, I led the effort, and was joined by more than 80 of my colleagues, in trying to encourage then-Speaker John Boehner to invite President Modi to give such an address shortly after he had assumed office," Sherman said.
Following the letter of 80 US lawmakers, the then Speaker Boehner in a letter had invited Modi before his September 2014 Washington DC visit to address a joint meeting of the US Congress.