US think tanks, ex-diplomats bat for grand reception for Modi


Washington: Representatives of top US think tanks and former diplomats have appealed to lawmakers that Prime Minister Narendra Modi be accorded a grand reception when he arrives here to meet US President Barack Obama later this year.

Testifying before a Congressional sub-committee, the experts praised Modi’s steps with regard to economic policies, administrative measure to revive India’s growth to more than eight per cent and his foreign policy particularly that of improving ties with neighbours.

“Modi’s commitment to good governance is the best way to engage on the difficult and often emotional issues that come with his elevation to power as a strong nationalist with conservative Hindu credentials,” said Vikram Singh, vice president, National Security and International Policy, Centre for American Progress.

“He is not likely to let lingering resentment over the denial of his visa in 2005 undermine US-India cooperation in areas that will advance his national priorities. However, the warmth of his welcome in the United States this fall is important,” he said.

“There is no point in taking half measures with the duly elected leader of the world’s largest democracy. Congress should invite Prime Minister Modi to address a joint meeting, as was done by his two immediate predecessors, Prime Minister Singh and Prime Minister Vajpayee,” he said.

Singh said this does not mean being timid about concerns like Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to secularism, human rights and harmony among India’s majority and minority communities that will ultimately define his legacy and India’s continued success and stability.

“But the US must take a forward looking approach. Modi has been cleared by Indian courts of any charges in the 2002 Gujarat riots, which claimed over 1,000 lives and elicited no apology or compensation for victims,” he said.

“Now, as the duly elected leader of the country, he has promised good governance, and that will require him to deliver justice for all Indian communities,” he added.