NRIs welcome PM Modi outside White House; Biden praises Indian-American community

Members of the NRI and Indian-origin community turned out in large numbers on a rainy morning at the South Lawn of the White House to witness the ceremonial welcome of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by US President Joe Biden on his first state visit.

Indian PM Narendra Modi (centre) and US President Joe Biden wave to the welcoming crowd at the White House. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@narendramodi

Later, during their joint address, both leaders were all praise for the Indian community in the US, stating that Indian-Americans were crucial in forging ties between the two nations.

Modi’ popularity among the overseas Indian community was evident as thousands gathered outside the White House in the United States’ capital.

Invitations for the ceremonial welcome were sent out to nearly 8,000 members of the diaspora and Indian American community. A drizzle was no dampener to the enthusiasm of the members of the diaspora, many of whom travelled overnight from different parts of the US, as they waved the flag of the two countries and raised slogans.

Slogans like 'Vande Mataram', 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' and 'Modi, Modi' went up the air amid a mood of cheer. Some people took chartered flights from Texas, a group of people drove from Tennessee, and people flew in from California and other states for the historic event.

PM Modi is on the second leg of his maiden state visit to the US, during which he held bilateral talks with President Biden and addressed a joint session of the US Congress.

A "new chapter" has been added to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between India and the US, Modi said after his comprehensive talks with Biden, who asserted that the ties between the two nations are among the "most consequential" in the world that is stronger, closer and more dynamic in any time in history.

members of the diaspora, many of whom travelled overnight from different parts of the US, as they waved the flag of the two countries and raised slogans.
Members of the Indian diaspora travelled overnight from different parts of the US to welcome PM Modi. They waved the flags of the two countries and raised slogans. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@narendramodi

"Today holds special importance in the history of India-US relations", Modi said in his statement at a joint press conference with Biden. 

"For the partnership between India and the US, even the sky is not the limit. The most important pillar of our relations is our people-to-people ties. More than 40 lakh people of Indian origin are contributing to the development of America," he added.

Announcing India's decision to join Artemis Accords, Modi said the two natiions have taken a new leap in space cooperation.

The Prime Minister said he and President Biden discussed several regional and global issues during the meeting. He also praised the NRI and Indian-origin community settled in the US.

"The people of the Indian community are enhancing India's glory in the US through their talent, hard work and dedication. You are the real strength of our relationship," Modi said.

During his speech, Biden said, "Together, we are unlocking the shared future of the world which I believed to be unlimited potential."

Praising the Indian community in the US, Biden emphasised the contributions of Americans of Indian heritage in his administration, including Vice President Kamala Harris, whose success stories define the relationship and the limitless possibilities between the two nations.

"I see it in the Indian-American diaspora that reflects every part of American life and remains a bridge between our nations and only grows stronger with each generation," he said.

"We see it with record numbers of Indian-Americans serving in the United States Congress. We see it here at the White House where proud Americans of Indian heritage serve our country every day, including our vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris," Biden said.

A record 150-plus Indian-Americans serve in key positions in the Biden administration.

"The granddaughter – the proud granddaughter of an Indian civil servant; daughter of an Indian student, turned American scientist who came to the United States when she was only 19 years old to pursue her dream of curing cancer. A family like so many of ours in our nation. That speaks to the thousand stories of determination, courage and hope in America," he said.

"Stories that define the relationship and the limitless possibilities between the United States and India. Two great nations, two great friends, two great powers that can define the course of the 21st century," he added.

(with PTI inputs)