Modi acknowledges Indian Americans’ role in strengthening India-U.S. ties

Modi's visit fosters friendship, cooperation, and commitment to democracy

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Indian Americans for their significant contributions to the host nation and the India-U.S. relationship at the State Dinner hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. He highlighted their pride in Indian values, democratic traditions, and culture, as well as their notable achievements across sectors like hospitality, healthcare, education, research, and logistics. (Photo Courtesy: Getty Images)

INDIAN PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi commended the significant contributions of Indian Americans to the development of their host nation and the India-U.S. relationship during a state dinner hosted by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. Modi also addressed Congress on topics including human rights and trade. AAHOA leaders also attended Modi’s joint address to Congress.

Modi praised Biden for assembling a talented group that represents the energy and dynamism of India-U.S. ties. The Prime Minister highlighted the pride of Indian Americans in their values, democratic traditions, and culture, as well as their substantial contributions across sectors such as hospitality, healthcare, education, research, and logistics.

“Be it hospitals or hotels, universities or research labs, gas stations or logistics management, they are making their mark everywhere,” the prime minister said.

The official state dinner, attended by over 400 guests, included prominent figures like Mukesh Ambani (Reliance Industries), Anand Mahindra (Mahindra Group), Sunder Pichai (Alphabet), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Tim Cook (Apple), Anthony Capuano (Marriot International) among others.

Modi raised a toast to the hosts, wishing for good health and prosperity, and highlighting the enduring bonds of friendship between India and the U.S. He mentioned the growing familiarity between Indians and Americans, the popularity of cricket in the U.S., and extended best wishes to the American team for the upcoming Cricket World Cup in India.

Biden, in his remarks, traced the historic bonds between the two countries and acknowledged the presence of Indian Americans in various fields, including arts, education, media, law, medicine, science, and businesses.

Second Congress address

Prime Minister Modi’s address to the joint session of the U.S. Congress received 15 standing ovations and 79 rounds of applause. (Photo Courtesy: Getty Images)

In his second address to the U.S. Congress, Modi emphasized the enduring friendship between India and the U.S. He highlighted India’s remarkable progress as the 5th largest economy, on track to becoming the 3rd largest. Modi reaffirmed the country’s commitment to democracy, sustainability, and pro-planet progress. He urged dialogue, diplomacy, and united efforts against terrorism. Modi advocated for a new world order, endorsing full membership of the African Union in the G20. He acknowledged concerns in the Indo-Pacific region and reaffirmed the bright future of the India-U.S. relationship.

Strengthening bilateral relations

Modi and Biden shake hands during the state dinner at the White House on June 22. (Photo Courtesy: Getty Images)

Modi’s ongoing visit has further strengthened India-U.S. bilateral relations and showcased India’s global influence. In New York, he led the International Day of Yoga celebrations at the UN Headquarters, meeting Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, the first Indian woman in that role. The event also set a new Guinness World Record.

In Washington DC, Modi received a ceremonial reception at the White House and met U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris, the highest-ranking Indian American. Modi congratulated Harris and invited her to visit India.

Before the State Dinner at the White House, the Biden family hosted a private dinner for Modi on June 21.

Biden emphasized the defining bond between the U.S. and India and their shared values and historical ties. He acknowledged the significance of Modi’s visit and praised the trust and respect in their relationship. Biden highlighted the collaboration through the Quad and their efforts to promote a secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

Both leaders acknowledged the diverse challenges they are jointly addressing, including poverty, healthcare, climate change, and the global consequences of Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Biden emphasized the strategic focus on critical technologies and the importance of upholding shared values.

Biden highlighted the transformative changes occurring in various aspects of society and the capacity of both democracies to tap into talent and attract investments. The President also praised the dynamism of India and the contributions of Indian-Americans to American society.

Modi expressed gratitude for the friendship and highlighted the significance of the India-U.S. friendship in promoting global peace and prosperity. Modi regarded India-U.S. strategic partnership as a testament to the power of democracy. He expressed confidence in positive discussions and gratitude for the opportunity to address the U.S. Congress.

Simplifying visa applications  

Prime Minister Modi reaches out to shake hands with Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) as he arrives to deliver remarks to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol on June 22. (Photo Courtesy: Getty Images)

In an effort to strengthen ties between India and the U.S., the Biden administration plans to streamline the visa process for Indians seeking to live and work in the U.S., according to media reports.

As part of a forthcoming pilot program, a select number of Indian H-1B visa holders will be able to renew their visas within the U.S. itself, eliminating the need to travel abroad. This initiative aims to facilitate the entry and retention of skilled Indian workers in the country.

The program is expected to expand in the future, benefiting the majority of H-1B workers who are Indian nationals. Further details regarding specific visa types and the program’s launch date have yet to be announced.

Investment proposals

Modi’s visit to the U.S. is set to attract more American companies to invest in India, aiming to lessen their reliance on China for manufacturing. Official data revealed that the U.S. ranks third in foreign investments in India, with over $60 billion invested from 2000 to 2023.

Several recent investment announcements have been made by prominent U.S. companies including Tesla, Micron Technology, Boeing, Amazon, Apple, Foxconn, Cisco Systems, Walmart, General Electric, and Applied Materials.

  • Tesla: Modi encourages substantial investment, official announcement expected soon.
  • Micron Technology: $2.7 billion plan approved for semiconductor unit ahead of Modi’s visit.
  • Boeing: Investing $24 million for airplane parts logistics center.
  • Amazon: Plans $13 billion investment in cloud infrastructure by 2030.
  • Apple: Expanding manufacturing operations, committed to investing extensively.
  • Foxconn: Investing $500 million in Telangana and $968 million in Karnataka, generating 70,000 jobs.
  • Cisco Systems: Commencing manufacturing operations, targeting $1 billion in production and exports.
  • Walmart: Committed to exporting $10 billion worth of goods annually from India by 2027.
  • General Electric: Urged to play a larger role in aviation and renewable energy sectors.
  • Applied Materials: Invited to contribute to India’s semiconductor ecosystem and advanced packaging capabilities.

Meanwhile, Indian Ambassador to the U.S., Taranjit Singh Sandhu, attended a Marriott reception in Washington before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the U.S. Marriott, and Indian American hotel owners are expanding their portfolios in India, tapping into the immense potential of the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors. Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano was also in attendance at the state dinner.

AAHOA leaders at Modi’s address

AAHOA leaders, including chairman Bharat Patel, vice chairman Miraj Patel, treasurer Kamalesh (KP) Patel, secretary Rahul Patel, and immediate past chair Neal Patel, attended the White House welcome ceremony on Thursday morning. AAHOA leaders also attended Modi’s joint address to Congress.

“The hotel industry has long provided thousands of first- and second-generation immigrants from India an opportunity to achieve the American dream of entrepreneurship,” said Bharat Patel, chairman of AAHOA. “The Biden Administration’s goals of strengthening ties with the world’s most populous country and largest democracy will ultimately help advance American interests around the globe. As the largest hotel owners association in the nation, we are at the forefront of cultural and business ties between the United States and India. We recognize the importance of these relationships on both a personal and a global level.”

AAHOA actively advocated for congressional leaders to invite Modi to address the House and Senate during his state visit.