US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan has invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address a joint meeting of Congress this summer.
Modi will be the fifth Indian prime minister to visit Congress, and is the first announced foreign leader to address a joint convening of the House and Senate under Ryan’s speakership, CNN reported.
He is set to arrive on June 8.
“The friendship between the US and India is a pillar of stability in an important region of the world,” Ryan said in a statement on Thursday.
“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.”
Modi set out on a world tour last year, becoming the first Indian prime minister in many years to visit Pakistan and, as of November, had spent more than 83 days abroad since taking office in May 2014, according to a CNN tally.
It’s a stark reversal from the days when Modi was barred from entering the USover his handling of anti-Muslim riots in 2002 when he was chief minister of the Indian state in which they took place, according to analysts.
But the US has increasingly courted India as a key ally in the region and Modi has forged ties with American leaders.
This visit will be Modi’s fourth visit in two years. Earlier on April 19, a bipartisan group of four top American lawmakers had asked the Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan to invite him for a joint meeting of the Congress.
However, there has been no official announcement from either the White House or the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi.
“Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Washington on June 7 and 8 of this year,” Congressmen Ed Royce, Eliot Engel, George Holding and Ami Bera said in a letter to Ryan.
“Given the depth of our relationship with India across a range of areas — defence, humanitarian and disaster relief, space cooperation, conservation, and innovation, — we believe this is an ideal opportunity for the Congress to hear directly from the Prime Minister,” they said.
“Therefore, we ask that you invite Prime Minister Modi to address a Joint Meeting of Congress. It is our understanding that if invited, the Prime Minister would accept,” the four lawmaker said in their letter dated April 19, a copy of which was released to the press.
The bipartisan group of Congressmen said the US partnership with India is based on a foundation of shared values, including the rule of law, electoral democracy, and religious pluralism.