Among Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s many meetings during his coming visit to the US, the one with the most profound implications for the future will be with the Clintons.
Modi will meet former president Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, who is expected to run for the White House in 2016, and win, according to polls.
They are scheduled to meet in New York, where Modi will be from September 26 to 29 for the UN general assembly. And the Clintons live in Chappaqua, near New York city.
No other details were available of the meeting except, according to multiple sources in New York and New Delhi, that the prime ministe will receive the couple in his hotel.
From all accounts, Modi has never met either of the Clintons before, despite the fact that they travel to India frequently — Hillary Clinton was there just this past July.
So was the former president, separately, in connection with a project run by his foundation in Jaipur. He has been a regular, since his first visit as president in 2000.
And they have both said they have been impressed by Modi, for their own reasons. The former president, who is something of a policy wonk, liked the prime minister’s economic policies.
And the former secretary of state has said she was impressed — no prizes for guessing — by Modi’s foreign policy savvy in inviting SAARC leaders to his inauguration.
To put their meeting in perspective, Modi doesn’t have any other past presidents on his schedule — and there are three, George H Bush, Jimmy Carter and George W Bush — so far.
But he is certainly meeting another Presidential hopeful, vice president Joe Biden, who is hosting a state lunch for the visiting prime minister in Washington DC.
It couldn’t be confirmed if the prime minister was meeting any of the Republicans contemplating a run for the White House — it’s a crowded and unclear field right now.
In September 2000, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was in New York for the UN general assembly, spoke with then Republican candidate George W Bush over phone.
The meeting with the Clintons will be special thus.
President Clinton is widely credited with setting the foundation for new relations between the two countries, which were largely on opposite sides during much of the Cold War.
He intervened during the Kargil War by forcing Pakistan to back off, and followed it up with a successful visit to India in 2000, with a rockstar reception in Parliament.
But key to this meeting, said sources, will be Secretary Clinton, who has not announced she is running, but she will most likely, according to her supporters, rivals and most political hacks.
They felt further convinced recently when she and her husband attended a Democratic party event in Iowa, where Barack Obama beat her in the 2008 primaries and turned the race.