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PM Modi's historic US trip: All you need to know about ‘state visit’

By, New Delhi
Jun 20, 2023 08:41 AM IST

The June 20-24 visit will be Modi's sixth to the United States as India's PM, but his first official state visit to the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday left for his historic state visit to the United States. This will be his sixth US visit since coming to power in May 2014, but his first official state visit to the country. The trip will commence on June 20 and conclude on June 24, after which the prime minister will leave for another maiden state visit, to Egypt.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi(REUTERS)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi(REUTERS)

Also Read | Modi leaves for historic US visit: ‘Together we stand stronger’

What is a state visit?

It is a formal visit by a head of state to a foreign country, at the invitation of the head of state of that foreign country. When a leader undertakes a state visit, the head of state of the destination country acts as the former's official host throughout the duration of the trip.

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Such a visit always includes a state reception by the host for the guest. US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, too, will host PM Modi for a state dinner.

Also, a state visit is usually reserved only for ‘closest friends and allies.’ It, therefore, signifies the highest expression of friendly bilateral ties between two sovereign nations.

How is a state visit different from an official visit?

The latter involves much less pomp and show than the former. An official visit, also sometimes known as official working visit or working visit, may include an official dinner, which, however, is nowhere near as glittering as a state dinner.

Also, a state visit is usually undertaken by a head of state, and not the head of government. Modi's trip, therefore, is significant as the President is the head of state in India, and the prime minister, the head of government. The US President is both the head of state and government.

Indian leaders and state visits to the US

Before Modi, only 2 Indian leaders have been hosted by the United States as an official state guest: President S Radhakrishnan in June 1963, and PM Manmohan Singh in November 2009.

Also Read | Modi in USA: 5 things to know about PM's upcoming state visit

Overall, as many as 9 Indian PMs have undertaken visits to the US: Jawaharlal Nehru and Atal Bihari Vajpayee (4 trips each), Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi (3 each), PV Narasimha Rao (2), and Morarji Desai and IK Gujral (1 each). Singh, on the other hand, went there 8 times as India's premier.

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