US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, backed by bipartisan leadership of both the House and Senate, invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the US Congress during his state visit to the White House on June 22.
The invitation, also signed by Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (Democrat from New York), Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Republican from Kentucky) and House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (Democrat from New York) invited Modi to share his “vision for India’s future and speak to the global challenges both our countries face”.
The invitation comes a week after the co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, Congressman Ro Khanna (Democrat from California) and Congressman Michael Waltz (Republican from Florida), wrote to McCarthy urging him to extend the invite to Modi. If Modi accepts, it will be a unique double for him: it will be his second address to the joint session of Congress after one in 2016.
According to a report, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela were among the few world leaders to be accorded this honour on two occasions.
Five Indian PMs have addressed the US Congress before Modi: Manmohan Singh, Atal Behari Vajpayee, PV Narasimha Rao, Rajiv Gandhi, and Jawaharlal Nehru.
The invitation to the Indian Prime Minister comes amid withering criticism from Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi during his tour of US of Modi's purported authoritarianism, an assessment the US establishment does not appear to share despite occasional disapproval of strong arm majoritarianism.