Washington: Not long ago, Narendra Modi was not welcome in the US. But the US is now pulling out all stops to woo him when he comes calling at the White House as India’s prime minister at the end of this month.
President Barack Obama will host a dinner for him September 29 before bilateral talks at the White House the next day and this will be followed by a lunch hosted by Vice President Joe Biden at the State Department.
What a difference an election makes! Long forgotten is Modi’s alleged inaction or complicity in the 2002 Gujarat riots that led the State Department to revoke his visa in 2005.
Modi may not have forgotten, but he too is not letting his personal feelings come in the way of repairing India-US ties which touched a low last December over the arrest and strip search of India’s then deputy consul general in New York for alleged visa fraud and underpaying her nanny.
For, if Obama has called India “one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century, one which will be vital to US strategic interests in Asia-Pacific and across the globe”, India’s ties with Washington are its most important relationship.
Obama and his predecessors, Republican George Bush and fellow Democrat Bill Clinton all visited India, underscoring the increasing importance of the bilateral relationship that has broad bipartisan support across the aisle.