India expects 'substantive' outcome from Narendra Modi's US visit

Written by PTI | New Delhi/Washington | Updated: Sep 24 2014, 05:22am hrs
India is expecting a "substantive" outcome from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's high-profile US visit from September 26 during which he will have nearly 50 engagements including a bilateral meeting with President Barack Obama and a speech at the UN General Assembly.

Briefing the reporters on the visit, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin in New Delhi also made it clear that the prime minister "looks forward and not backward" in a relationship when asked about Modi's boycott by the US after the Gujarat riots in 2002.

"We see Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first visit to New York and Washington as a signal of India's abiding commitment to multilateralism and of a desire to build on a growing convergences in Indo-US ties in the areas where we can work together and in areas where we can do more for each other," he said.

Giving the details of various facets of the Indo-US strategic relationship, the spokesperson said from "atom to outer space and everything in-between" are areas of cooperation between the two countries and the visit will provide an opportunity to enhance this cooperation.

He also said during the deliberations the focus will be trade and investment, energy, science and technology, defence, maritime as well as counter-terrorism and security.

He said the two countries would also explore ways to enhance cooperation in third countries including Afghanistan, which is undergoing transition, and Africa.

"I can assure that there will be substantive outcomes..", the spokesperson said.

During his over 100 hours of stay in the US, Modi will deliver his maiden speech at the UN General Assembly that will among other issues focus on need for reforms in the UN with India being included as Permanent Member in the Security Council given the country's role in major UN initiatives such as peacekeeping.

A hectic agenda awaits Modi in the US as he would utilise his stay to meet top global leaders, address thousands of cheering crowds, make a speech at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and interact with CEOs of the Fortune 500, in addition to his Oval Office meeting with Obama.

The series of engagements -- estimated to be over 50 in a little over 100 hours from the time Air India One touches down at the John F Kennedy international airport in New York on September 26 till the wheels are up at the Andrews Air Force Base in Washington on September 30 evening - are all aimed at achieving Modi's goal of a resurgent India.

In his interactions with top American CEOs, a majority of whom are said to be from Fortune 500, the Prime Minister would be rolling out his policy of "red carpet and not red tape" to invite them to come, invest and make in India.

In his interaction with leaders like American business magnate and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Modi would be listening to his experience of smart cities.

In his address to nearly 20,000 Indian-Americans and in his subsequent meetings with the Indian diaspora, Modi is expected to seek their "partnership" in a resurgent India, which occupies its due place in the international community.

Modi would also be meeting the top American political leadership ranging from former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Indian-American South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

Modi will be hosted for tea by Speaker of the US House of Representatives John Boehner and more than 50 lawmakers during his stay either in New York or Washington.

In Washington, there is a very high level of expectation from Modi's meeting with President Obama.

Obama has gone out of his way to host a rare private dinner for Modi at the White House on September 29, so as to establish a personal relationship with the Indian leader.

Ahead of his main summit at the White House on September 30, Modi would visit the Martin Luther King Memorial and Lincoln Memorial in Washington and pay floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi's statue in front of the Indian Embassy.

This would be for the first time that an Indian Prime Minister would have so many public and private engagements during a US visit.

With an unusually lean and thin delegation on board, Modi would be received by Indian Ambassador to the US, S Jaishankar and Indian Ambassador to the UN, Asoke Mukerji on his arrival on September 26.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio would make a courtesy call on the Prime Minister shortly after he arrives.

Modi would also meet Nobel laureate Harold Eliot Varmus, who is the current Director of the National Cancer Institute.

He would begin the next day, September 27, with a visit to the 9/11 memorial in New York, after which he is expected to drive down to the United Nations headquarters to address the 69th annual session of UN General Assembly. His speech will be televised live in India.

Following his address, Modi is scheduled to have a series of bilateral meetings with a host of world leaders. He would also meet UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon.

On Saturday, Modi would meet Bloomberg, mainly because of his involvement in smart city projects.

Modi is interested in seeking Bloomberg's views on the ambitious 100 smart cities project that his government has undertaken after coming to power in May this year.

The same day, the Prime Minister will drive down to the historic Central Park to address the annual Global Citizens Initiative, which aims at building a sustainable world community for all.

Modi is expected to deliver an address to the thousands of people who would gather at the Central Park for the event.

Later in the evening, Modi would meet a small group of eminent Indian-Americans, with whom he would like to talk essentially about the role the community can play in achieving his goal of inclusive growth, resurgent India and to strengthen the India-US relationship.

September 28 is a day dedicated to the Indian diaspora on his calendar, wherein he would address some 20,000 Indian- Americans - from 48 US and five Canadian provinces - at the Madison Square Garden, with several thousand people watching him live at the iconic Times Square.

Several Congressmen, including Indian-American Ami Bera are scheduled to either listen to Modi's speech at Madison Square Garden or attend the community dinner hosted in his honour by the Indian ambassador later in the evening.

On Monday, September 29, Modi is expected to begin his day with a meeting with top American CEOs.