June 26, 2023
This past week, the White House rolled out the red carpet for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, June 22. Just the day before, Modi had conducted a yoga session in Times Square in New York City to mark World Yoga Day. In Washington, D.C., the White House received him with the pageantry reserved for America’s closest allies, with marching troops on the South Lawn. During this packed six-day visit, Modi delivered his second address to a joint assembly of Congress (his first was in 2016), attended a White House state dinner (plant-based, since Modi is vegetarian), went to a State Department luncheon co-hosted by Vice President Kamala Harris, met with U.S. CEOs, signed several deals, and more.
“I’ve long believed the relationship between the United States and India…will be one of the defining relationships of the 21st century,” U.S. President Joe Biden said during the elaborate welcome ceremony.
For India, this grand welcome comes as the country and its diaspora are increasingly taking the world stage. India recently overtook China as the world’s most populous country and the U.K. as the world’s fifth-largest economy. India is also the president of the G20 this year, using it as an opportunity to be the voice for the global South on food security and climate change. The diaspora mirrors this growth. From U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to the World Bank’s new president, Ajay Banga, to CEOs of top U.S. companies, people of Indian origin are increasingly taking on more prominent roles.