For Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first state visit to the United States from June 21 to June 24, Indian Americans are eagerly preparing to extend a warm welcome to him.
Thousands of expatriate Indians will gather in Washington during the visit of PM Modi, who will arrive in the US at the invitation of at the invitation of President Joe Biden and first Lady Jill Biden. While a group of Indian Americans are planning to go to Andrews Air Force Base when the Prime Minister’s Air India One lands on June 21 afternoon from New York and over 600 community members are planning to gather at Freedom Plaza in front of the Willard Intercontinental in Washington located near the White House where the PM will be staying during his visit.
At the Freedom Plaza, the community has planned to showcase the cultural fabric of India through cultural events representing India spanning from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, and from West to East, Adapa Prasad, President of Overseas Friends of BJP-USA, told ANI.
“It is India’s diverse cultural show and growth story. We have roughly 25 programs representing Kashmir to Kerala and Maharashtra to the northeast with 160 artists participating,” Prasad said.
“The Indian American community feels that they are part of this historic story. They’re proud that this momentous occasion is happening. That too when India became the fifth largest economy and the third largest, so the community itself is very proud about their country of origin,” Prasad further noted.
On June 22, more than 7000 Indian Americans are planning to be on the South Lawns of the White House when President Biden and the First Lady would welcome the Prime Minister amidst a 21-gun salute. The White House will be closing the registration shortly for those attending the welcome ceremony.
“India was known as an underdeveloped country. All that has changed in the last ten years. Thanks a lot to Shri Modiji who has transformed India not only with the IT generation but by rising high above all the expectations of people in terms of infrastructure development, in terms of financial independence given to all the markets,” said Premkumar Swaminathan who hails from Tamil Nadu in India.
PM Narendra Modi during his visit will also become the first Indian PM to address the Joint Meeting of the US Congress for the second time. Indian Americans said the invitation sent to Prime Minister to address the US Congress serves as a reminder of the historic significance of the relationship between the US and India, reflecting the shared dream and commitment to global peace and prosperity, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.
“I think it is crucial for us to understand kind of the importance of Modiji speaking on the stage. A lot of global leaders have spoken separately in the Union House of Representatives. They have spoken for state dinners and all of that. But, somebody addressing the state of the joint session is something very very unusual. So, that tells how geopolitics has come around, that tells how much Modiji has made an influence in the entire geopolitical world,” said Srilkeha Reddy Palle a resident of Virginia told ANI.
It’s not just Modi’s rockstar-like appeal among the Indian diaspora that is “unique” that connects with the diaspora, some are excited to express gratitude for the recent developments in India.
Mohan Sapru, a member of the Kashmiri Hindu diaspora in Washington, said, “I just want to express our gratitude to the Prime Minister for the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A in Kashmir. And I’m sure together we will be working together with Modiji for resolving all the issues with regard to Kashmiri Hindus’ resettlement safely back in Kashmir.”
In the US, PM Modi will also address the chairman and CEOs of top US companies at John F Kennedy Centre in Washington. Followed by an address to the Indian diaspora at Ronald Reagan Center in DC in the evening.
Several top Indian-Americans have expressed their excitement to join Prime Minister Modi on the north lawns of the UN complex in New York, on June 21, where he will lead the International Yoga Day event soon after arriving in the country.