Modi to visit US Sep 21-27, India’s achievements to be in focus

Trump to join Modi in Houston to address 50K Indian-Americans White House

India Post News Service

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the US from September 21 to 27 during the course of which he will address the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, attend a diaspora event in the Texas city of Houston where he will be joined by US President Donald Trump and hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of 20 countries, it was announced Thursday.    

In a pre-departure media briefing here, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said that the focus of Modi’s visit to the US this time, his third as Prime Minister and the first after being reelected in May this year, will be on India’s achievements on issues like UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and not on Kashmir and terrorism.

Modi is scheduled to arrive in Houston Saturday.

A day later, he would be joined by President Trump during the address to the mega ‘Howdy Modi’ rally.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make a visit to the US from the late afternoon of 21 September until the forenoon of 27 September. And the two cities on his itinerary are Houston in Texas and then New York,” Gokhale said.

Modi will address the UN General Assembly session on the morning of September 27, he said.

Modi will also host a special event ‘Leadership Matters: Relevance of Gandhi in the Contemporary World’ September 24. He will be joined leaders of a few countries at this event.

Amidst attempts by Pakistan to internationalize the Kashmir issue, especially, after Article 370 provisions were abrogated, Gokhale said, “If they wish to dwell on this issue in the speech by their Prime Minister, they are welcome to do so.”

“Article 370 is an internal issue, there will be no discussion on it in the UN, we will have no discussion on it,” he said when asked if India would share its perspective during his high-level bilateral and multilateral meetings in the US.

“Our Prime Minister will focus on what the high-level segment of the UNGA is meant to focus on which is – as an important economy, as an important country, as a responsible member of the UN – PM will flag what we are doing for development, for security, for peace and our expectations and aspirations of other countries,” Gokhale said

Modi will raise several issues such as development, climate change and other bilateral and multilateral issues “of which terrorism is one, but the focus will not be on it, but on the role of India at the international platform”,” he added.

The Prime Minister at the UNGA and in his bilateral and multilateral meetings will reiterate India’s position that multilateralism is at the centre of global politics and should remain so, he said while noting that the current form was not in sync with the ground realities.

By any yardstick, be it by population, size of the economy, participation in peacekeeping operations, in Sustainable Development Goals, India is a befitting candidate for the permanent membership in a reformed UNSC, he said.

Giving details of Modi’s schedule in the US, Gokhale said Modi will arrive in Houston and head straight into his first business event – a round table with several chief executives from the energy sector.

On September 22 morning, the highlight will be the Prime Minister’s address to the Indian community – his third in the US after Maddison Square Garden in 2014 and San Jose in 2015.

“We are expecting more than 50,000 people from the diaspora and it will be the largest that he (Modi) has done in the US,” Gokhale said.

President Trump and several elected Congressional representatives from both Democratic and Republican parties will be present at the event.

The Prime Minister is expected to have a separate interactive session with members of the US Congress after which he will leave for New York.

On September 23, there are several multilateral events lined up beginning with the Climate Summit organized by UN Secretary General Antonio Guetteres which Modi will be attending.

The Prime Minister, in his remarks, will showcase what India has done to address climate change issues and also spell out India’s expectations and aspirations from the international community to address “this very pressing problem”, Gokhale said.

Other events will include a leadership dialogue on the strategic responses to terrorists and violent extremist narratives, he added.

As the world commemorates Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, India will also host a special event ‘Leadership Matters: Relevance of Gandhi in the Contemporary World’ September 24 where Modi will be joined by leaders of countries such as New Zealand, South Korea and Singapore.

The event will also see the inauguration of Gandhi Solar Park – installation of solar panels on the roof top of UN headquarters in New York from India’s grant of $1 million – as also opening of the Gandhi peace garden at the state university of New York campus of Old Westbury through remote control, and release of a UN postage stamp on Gandhi.

During the visit, the Prime Minister will receive an award by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the Swachh Bharat campaign.

On September 25, the Prime Minister will deliver a keynote address at the plenary of the Bloomberg global business forum.

This will be followed by an investment roundtable that India is organizing with 40 major companies such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mastercard, Visa, Amway, J.P. Morgan, Lockheed Martin, Bank of America, and Walmart.

Modi will also co-chair two important plurilateral meetings — India Pacific Islands Leaders meeting and India-Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM).

After delivering his address at the UNGA September 27, Modi will leave for India.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will also be in New York and will have several meetings with foreign ministers of various countries.

Separately, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan will also be in New York and will engage with groups such as Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), BRICS and Commonwealth.

After Prime Minister leaves New York, EAM will be on a bilateral visit to Washington to meet with various political and economic leaders, Gokhale said.




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