Washington: Indian American Congressman Ro Khanna has welcomed the decision of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address a joint session of the US Congress during his Official State visit later this month.
Modi, who previously addressed a joint session of the US Congress June 8, 2016, is one of the few world leaders who have been invited to address the joint session two or more times.
Winston Churchill (1941, 1943 and 1952) and Benjamin Netanyahu (1996, 2011 and 2015) have addressed Congress three times each. Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Yitzhak Rabin of Israel also addressed Joint Meetings of Congress twice.
“I am gratified that Speaker McCarthy listened to the suggestion of the India Caucus and has extended an invitation to the Prime Minister of India to address the joint session of Congress,” Khanna, Co-Chair of the India Caucus told PTI in an interview.
After President Biden announced that he has invited Modi for an Official State visit on June 22, Khanna and his Republican co-chair of the India Caucus wrote to McCarthy to invite the prime minister to address the joint session of the US Congress.
Khanna followed up with a meeting with McCarthy during which the Speaker assured him that they were working on it.
“On behalf of the bipartisan leadership of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, it is our honour to invite you to address a Joint Meeting of Congress Thursday, June 22, 2023,” said the invitation letter, which was jointly signed by McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer along with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries.
“Based on our shared values and commitment to global peace and prosperity, the partnership between our two countries continues to grow. During your address, you will have the opportunity to share your vision for India’s future and speak to the global challenges our countries both face,” they wrote.
“Your historic address to a Joint Meeting of Congress seven years ago left a lasting impact and greatly deepened the friendship between the United States and India. As you said in that address: “Our relationship is primed for a momentous future. The constraints of the past are behind us and the foundations of the future are firmly in place.”
“We look forward to paving the way for greater collaboration between our countries in the years to come,” the letter said.
“Once again, we would be honoured to have you join us for a Joint Meeting of Congress to celebrate the enduring friendship between the United States and India. We look forward to continuing to work together to build a brighter future for our countries and for the world,” the Congressional leaders said.
Rajiv Gandhi was the first Indian Prime Minister to address a joint session of the US Congress June 13, 1985, followed by PV Narasimha Rao May 18, 1994; Atal Bihari Vajpayee September 14, 2000, and Manmohan Singh July 19, 2005.
In a video message, Congressman Jonathan L Jackson, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said that the lawmakers are excited to receive Modi to address the joint session of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.
“We look forward to a continuing strengthening of our relationship collaboration. We’re eager to hear your insights on your leadership on the world stage. So on behalf of all of us here in the United States of America, we look forward to greeting you and receiving you once again. Thank you, Prime Minister Modi,” Jackson said.