Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited to address a joint meeting of the US Congress on June 8, 2016. This was apprised by the Speaker of the US House of Representative Mr. Paul Ryan. Reflecting the strong bipartisan support to the India-US relationship, the American lawmakers have welcomed the decision of the US House Speaker.
If addressed, the Indian PM Modi will be the fifth Indian leader to address the session; importantly the erstwhile Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressed the joint session, way back in the year 2005.
It is considered an important step towards increasing bilateral relations between the two countries. According to Mr Ryan, "The friendship between the United States and India is a pillar of stability in an important region of the world". "This address presents a special opportunity to hear from the elected leader of the world's most populous democracy on how our two nations can work together to promote our shared values and to increase prosperity. We look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Modi to the US Capitol on June 8," he further said.
Invitations to address the Senate and House are considered a great honour. There have been only two in the past year: Pope Francis, on September 24, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on April 29, 2015.
The US lawmakers also feel that Indian PM Modi’s address to US Congress, will present an important an opportunity to boost the mutual ties. The US Congressman Ed Royce, who led the campaign to have Prime Minister Modi address a joint session of Congress, also welcomes the move. Hailing the invite, he said, “This is going to be an opportunity to hear from the prime minister of the new India and the progress made in the last two years of the growing cooperation between the US and India in several areas, including areas that would have seemed implausible a few years ago”.
This might also be the last official meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama as his term comes to an end this year. The two leaders in their tenure have worked towards making the relationship between two countries, the largest and the strongest democracies – stronger.