‘Terrific cooperation’ with India, says White House ahead of Modi visit

The US has a "significant" defence partnership with India and "terrific cooperation" inside the Quad, the White House said ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US next week.

PM Modi and President Biden in the White House. Photo courtesy:
PM Modi and President Biden in the White House. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@ANI

John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council in the White House, was speaking to reporters yesterday during a daily news conference.

Modi is set to become the first Indian premier to address the United States Congress twice on June 22. 

The invitation to deliver such a historic speech was extended by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, demonstrating bipartisan support and respect for PM Modi in the United States. He will visit the United States from June 21 to June 24 on the invitation of US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. 

The invitation letter from the President and First Lady praised PM Modi's last address seven years ago, which helped cement the connection between the two countries.

Before Modi, there have been five Indian prime ministers who have given such remarks: Jawaharlal Nehru (1949, to separate House and Senate gatherings), Rajiv Gandhi (1985), PV Narashima Rao (1994), Atal Bihari Vajpayee (2000) and Manmohan Singh (2005). 

The White House emphasised in its message that it was an occasion to reaffirm the two countries' deep and close alliance. PM Modi expressed his thanks for the privilege and stated that he was looking forward to addressing the joint session.

In his message, PM Modi reiterated the pride in having a Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership with the US founded on the principles of democratic values, close people-to-people ties and a staunch commitment to global peace and prosperity.

The Indian community in the US is also eagerly awaiting PM Modi's arrival. An 'India Unity March' will be organised in 20 different cities in the US on June 18 to welcome PM Modi. Highlighting India's growth and development in the past nine years, a grand cultural event will be organised in front of the White House on June 21.

 The Quad comprises Japan, India, Australia, and the US.
A meeting of the Quad leaders from Japan, India, Australia, and the US was held last month. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@PMOIndia

Kurt Campbell, the US administration's top official for the Indo-Pacific region, states that this visit may help consecrate the relationship with India as the most important for the USA in the world. 

The preparation for the PM’s visit is already underway with strategic visits of the US's Secretary of Defence and National Security Advisor to India prior to PM Modi's US visit. Lloyd J Austin, Secretary of Defence, visited India on June 4-5 to fortify defence partnerships and advance partnerships in critical domains.

In his meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, views were exchanged on a range of regional security issues. The US also reiterated its commitment to collaborating closely on the issues pertaining to the Indo-Pacific.

In their discussions, the rising importance of defence innovation and cooperation in emerging domains like space, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity also came up. The launch of the Advanced Domains Defence Dialogue was appreciated by the two counterparts and a further commitment to expand bilateral defence cooperation was emphasised.

During the discussion, the collaboration between the US and Indian companies, investors, start-up accelerators, and academic research institutions was emphasised which have also committed to strengthening operational collaboration across all military services, with an eye to supporting India's leading role as a security provider in the Indo-Pacific.