India's Narendra Modi set for June White House visit

US President Joe Biden will host Indian leader on June 22 amid tension over Russia

US President Joe Biden greets India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a G7 meeting in Germany in June 2022. AFP
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US President Joe Biden will host Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an official state visit on June 22, the White House said on Wednesday, as Washington works to deepen ties with the world's largest democracy.

“The visit will strengthen our two countries’ shared commitment to a free, open, prosperous and secure Indo-Pacific and our shared resolve to elevate our strategic technology partnership, including in defence, clean energy and space,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

Mr Biden has been eager to strengthen relations with India as part of his bid to win what he has framed as a contest between free and autocratic societies, especially China.

During a February visit to Washington by India's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, the US and India launched a partnership to deepen ties on military equipment, semiconductors and artificial intelligence.

New Delhi has frustrated Washington by participating in military exercises with Russia and increasing purchases of the country's crude oil, a key source of funding for the war in Ukraine.

Washington has been pushing New Delhi to do more to punish Russia for the Ukraine invasion.

Mr Modi's relationship with Washington has evolved since 2005, when the administration of President George W Bush denied him a visa under a US law barring entry to foreigners who have committed “particularly severe violations of religious freedom”.

That move stemmed from the killing of more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, in sectarian riots in the Indian state of Gujarat shortly after Mr Modi became its chief minister.

The Prime Minister has denied wrongdoing.

President Barack Obama invited Mr Modi to the White House in 2014, after his Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies swept India’s elections, putting him in position to be prime minister in a seismic political shift that gave the Hindu nationalist and his party a mandate for sweeping economic reform.

Updated: May 10, 2023, 5:28 PM