Washington: The White House is in talks with Indian officials on Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s proposed visit to the US, a presidential spokesman said on Thursday after House of Representative Speaker Paul Ryan announced that Modi has been invited to address a joint meeting of the Congress on 8 June.

PM Narendra Modi. AFP

PM Narendra Modi. AFP

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, however, did not indicate if a final decision has been taken in this regard or if the formal invitation to Modi by President Barack Obama has been sent.

Obama, he said, “enjoys his relationship” with Modi.

“The President appreciates the important role played by Prime Minister Modi in the success of Paris Summit on Climate Change last November,” he said.

“The White House has been in close touch with a range of Indian officials to discuss a potential visit by Prime Minister Modi to Washington. We’re still engaged in those discussions. Obviously the President has a strong working relationship with Prime Minister Modi,” Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference.

“President Obama has complemented the important role that Prime Minister Modi played in Paris in ensuring the successful completion of the Paris climate talks. The President had a long meeting with Prime Minister Modi in the context of that international meeting,” he said.

Modi participated in the Nuclear Security Summit that was convened in Washington just last month, he noted.

“And of course, President Obama at the beginning of last year had an opportunity to be the guest of honour at India’s Republic Day celebration. That obviously was a memorable visit for the President and he was the first President to be so honoured,” Earnest said.

“They obviously have a strong working relationship and, you know, we’re in conversations with them about scheduling a visit,” the presidential spokesman said.

Modi, who was invited by President Barack Obama for a bilateral visit when he was here for the nuclear summit, will be the fifth prime minister of India to address a joint meeting of Congress, and the first since 2005.

Earlier, Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh (19 July, 2005), Atal Bihari Vajpayee (14 September, 2000), PV Narasimha Rao (18 May, 1994) and Rajiv Gandhi (13 July, 1985) addressed the joint meeting of the US Congress.

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In talks with Indian officials on Narendra Modi’s US visit: White House