Modi visit: are India and the US moving closer together?

Since becoming prime minister of India, Narendra Modi has had seven state level interactions with US President Obama, suggesting a significant shift in Indo-US relations.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Modi-Obama meeting.

Indo-US bilateral relations have never been so friendly as in the last two years, after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi first visited the United States in September 2014.

But will this continue once US President Barack Obama leaves the White House in January 2017?

President Obama has referred to Modi as "my friend, my partner" on many occasions, with Modi calling Obama "my friend" in return when the US president went on an official visit to India last year.

The White House played a significant role in lifting a ban on Modi’s entry to the US after he became Indian prime minister. The ban was imposed following mass killings of Muslim in the Indian state of Gujarat while he was chief minister in 2002.

Modi’s current stay in the US is his seventh state level interaction with Obama.

In their latest meeting both leaders discussed a wide range of bilateral and international issues, agreeing on the ratification of the climate accord reached in Paris last year.

In a joint statement the US said it now recognises India as a major defence partner and would work on technology sharing "to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners."

"We discussed how we can, as quickly as possible, bring the Paris Agreement into force," Obama told reporters. Climate change has been a legacy issue for the US president.

President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi will also address both houses of the US Congress, becoming the fifth Indian Prime Minister to do so. 

Both leaders have vowed to increase cooperation in the field of science and nuclear technology.

"In the field of nuclear energy, we are purchasing six nuclear reactors from Westinghouse, which will mark a new era in our nuclear and scientific cooperation," Modi told the audience of an event organised by the US India Business Council during a visit to Washington.

"We continue to discuss a wide range of areas where we can cooperate more effectively in order to promote jobs, promote investment, promote trade and greater opportunities for our people, particularly young people, in both of our countries," President Obama said during the meeting, The New York Times reported.

"The United States is well aware of the talent that India has," Modi said in Hindi. "We and the United States can work together to bring forward this talent, and use it for the benefit of mankind and use it for the benefit of innovations and use it to achieve new progress."

TRTWorld and agencies