Ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s State visit to the United States later this month, a White House Official said India is a ‘vibrant democracy’ rejecting certain implicit accusations made by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi regarding the health of Indian democracy.
During a press conference on Tuesday, John Kirby, who serves as the Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House, expressed that India is a dynamic democracy. He mentioned that anyone who visits New Delhi can witness this firsthand, emphasizing the importance of discussing the robustness and well-being of democratic institutions.
The White House, ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s forthcoming official visit to the United States, addressed concerns about the state of Indian democracy, asserting that it is indeed “vibrant.” They further emphasized that anyone who happens to travel to New Delhi can personally observe the vitality of the democratic system.
Kirby affirmed, “And, you know, we never hesitate. And that’s something you can do with friends; it’s expected when dealing with friends. We never hesitate to voice any concerns we may have with any country globally.”
He also commented, “However, this visit is principally focused on enhancing current US-India partnership and friendship, with a vision to forge a stronger and more robust alliance in the future.”
Modi’s State Visit to the US
State visits involve foreign trips led by heads of state or government, who represent their respective nations in an official capacity. These visits symbolize the country’s diplomatic relationship as State visits to the United States exclusively take place upon the invitation of the President of the United States, who serves as the head of state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to undertake an official state visit to the United States from June 21 to 24. During this visit, he will be hosted by President Joe Biden at the White House.
This particular visit holds significance as it will mark Narendra Modi’s first state visit to the US throughout his nine-year tenure as prime minister. The previous state visit from India to the US took place from November 23 to 25, 2009, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in office.
While Prime Minister Modi has made multiple visits to the US during his time as the leader of India, none of them were designated as state visits, which is the highest level of visit based on diplomatic protocol.
According to the White House, the upcoming state visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will strengthen the shared commitment between the United States and India towards a free, open, prosperous, and secure Indo-Pacific region.
Kirby on the significance of Modi’s visit
John Kirby expressed that the primary objective of Modi’s visit is to advance the existing partnership and foster a deeper and stronger bond between the two nations moving forward.
As part of the visit, US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will host Prime Minister Modi for a state dinner at the White House, emphasizing the significance and hospitality extended during this diplomatic event.
According to Kirby, the intention behind President Biden’s meeting with PM Modi is to strengthen and deepen the bilateral partnership and friendship between the United States and India. The significance of India goes beyond just a bilateral relationship, as it holds multilateral importance on various levels.
The President eagerly anticipates discussing numerous issues with Prime Minister Modi and advancing the partnership and friendship between the two nations.
In addition to the White House visit, PM Modi has also received an invitation from the US Congress to address a joint meeting of the House of Representatives and Senate.
The theme of his address is expected to focus on India’s future vision and the global challenges faced by both India and the United States.
Kirby highlighted India’s significance as a strong partner on various fronts with the United States. He mentioned the announcement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Shangri-La Dialogue regarding enhanced defence cooperation with India.
Additionally, the economic trade ties between the two countries are substantial. India’s membership in the Pacific Quad and its role as a crucial friend and partner in Indo-Pacific security were also emphasized.
During his visit, the Secretary of Defense reaffirmed the significance of the bilateral relationship between the United States and India, particularly in the context of promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific. This partnership is seen as crucial for maintaining regional stability, security, and adherence to a rules-based international system.