The United States on Tuesday welcomed Narendra Modi’s election as leader of the BJP parliamentary party bringing him a step closer to 7 Race Course Road.
Narendra Modi with other BJP leaders at the party office in Gandhinagar. (PTI)
“I offer my congratulations to the Bharatiya Janata Party on their resounding victory in India’s historic national election, and to Narendra Modi on his election as Prime Minister of India,” said secretary of state John Kerry in a statement.
“I look forward to returning to India soon and echo President Obama’s invitation to Prime Minister Modi to visit the United States at the earliest opportunity,” he added.
President Barack Obama conveyed his congratulations to Modi, with an invitation to visit the US, in a phone call last Friday, shortly after election results gave the BJP a resounding majority.
The United States has been effusive in welcoming the BJP and, specially, Modi, demonstrably eager to put behind the slight of denying him a visa for 10 years.
The White House first welcomed the completion of polling on May 12 and said it was willing to work with the next government, which, all exit polls said, would be Modi’s.
Kerry and the White House tweeted their congratulations on May 17, after the counting of votes. President Obama followed up with a phone call to Modi.
National Security Adviser Susan Rice tweeted details of the phone call.
After mostly ignoring Indian elections — with far more attention on Ukrainian polls — American media gave Page One coverage to the results, with editorials.
The Wall Street Journal said in an editorial the visa ban on Modi should have gone a long time ago. Others wondered if the US had been too late to accept and embrace Modi.
Prime minister-elect’s every move is being watched for signs of things to come. That Modi was slow to tweet his thanks to Obama — much after all other leaders — was noted.
“Does it bother you at all that the President of the United States was so far down on the list of Mr. Modi’s priorities to thank,” a reporter asked state department spokesperson Jen Psaki at her daily briefing on Monday.
“I think our relationship between the United States and India is so strong and enduring we won’t worry about the Twitter rank order,” said Psaki.