Modi US Visit Day 3: Bilateral talks, speech at Congress and lavish state dinner | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Modi US Visit Day 3: Bilateral talks, speech at Congress and lavish state dinner

Jun 22, 2023 02:21 PM IST

Prime Minister will join US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden for the state banquet along with a number of dignitaries on Thursday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to kick off the third day of his state visit to the United States with bilateral meetings at the White House followed by an address to a joint session of the Congress in Washington DC. The day will culminate with a lavish state dinner hosted by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at the White House.

US President Joe Biden (R) and First Lady Jill Biden (L) greet Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he arrives at the South Portico of the White House in Washington, DC on June 21, 2023.(AFP)
US President Joe Biden (R) and First Lady Jill Biden (L) greet Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he arrives at the South Portico of the White House in Washington, DC on June 21, 2023.(AFP)

Prime Minister Modi's engagements also include a joint press conference where he is expected to take two questions from the media – one from the US press and one from an Indian journalist. White House national security spokesperson John Kirby called the press conference a “big deal”.

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"We are just grateful that Prime Minister Modi is participating in a press event at the end of the visit," Kirby said. “We think that's important and we're glad he thinks that's important too.”

Modi-Biden meeting

Prime Minister Modi and President Biden will have a one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday before holding high-level talks to further boost the growing Indo-US strategic relations in areas like defence, space and critical technologies. The two leaders will also discuss ways to further expand educational exchanges and people-to-people ties, as well as work together to confront common challenges from climate change to workforce development and health security.

“This visit will affirm the deep and close partnership between the United States and India and the warm bonds of family and friendship that link Americans and Indians together,” the White House said on Wednesday.

“The visit will strengthen our two countries’ shared commitment to a free, open, prosperous, and secure Indo-Pacific and shared resolve to elevate the technology partnership, including in defence, clean energy, and space,” it said.

Address to US Congress

The prime minister will proceed to US Capitol to address a joint session of the Congress, which would be attended by Congressmen and senators in the presence of several hundred Indian Americans from the visitor’s gallery. Modi, who addressed the US Congress in 2016, will become only the third world leader to address such a meeting twice.

Some Democrats, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have decided to boycott the address alleging that the Indian prime minister has “deeply disturbing human rights records.”

State Dinner

Biden and the first lady will greet Modi on arrival for the State dinner on the South Lawns of the White House. The tent installed for the State dinner is big enough to accommodate more than 400 guests. The guest lists would be announced about an hour before the reception and the dinner. Given Prime Minister Modi is a vegetarian, plant-based pioneer chef Nina Curtis has worked with the White House chefs and create a vegetarian menu. The pavilion will be draped in rich greens with saffron colour flowers at every table to showcase the colours of India's national flag.

Entertainment

Following the lavish dinner, Grammy award winner Joshua Bell and Penn Masala, a South Asian acapella group from the University of Pennsylvania, will perform at the White House. Jill Biden said that the Penn Masala group will be bringing a “little piece of my hometown to the White House, along with songs inspired by the sounds of India.”

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