Indian Americans Bullish on Modi Visit
UNPRECEDENTED VISIT BUOYS INDIAN AMERICANS
“The Indian community make up a significant constituency in key swing states,” -political scientist and professor Sumit Ganguly
Once denied a diplomatic visa by the USA for alleged connivance in religious-based atrocities in his home state of Gujarat back when he was Chief Minister, the USA has rolled out the red carpet for now Prime Minister Modi in inviting him for an official state visit – a reception reserved for the closest of US allies.
The importance of the Indian American community both to US politicians and to their counterparts in India cannot be underestimated as a factor in the change in direction of US policy towards Modi.
“The Indian community make up a significant constituency in key swing states,” political scientist and professor Sumit Ganguly told The Global Calcuttan in the run-up to the 2020 US general election. But it goes the other way, too, The Indian American community’s political weight has not been lost on Modi, who has leveraged its influence time and again.
When Mr. Modi first came to power in 2014, he was received by 20,000 spectators at a sold-out event in New York’s Madison Square Garden during a five-day visit to the U.S. It was the largest reception any foreign leader has received in the country after the Pope. “This is India’s century,” Modi declared, sending the wildly enthusiastic crowd into a frenzy.
Incredibly, the reception was topped by the Howdy Modi event held in Texas in 2019 when Modi was invited alongside then President Donald Trump. That event drew an unprecedented crowd of 50,000 Indian Americans.
Then courted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come and be involved in India, now Indian origin peoples of the world spur the Indian Prime Minister to become more involved in the World. Modi’s upcoming visit to the USA heeds this call, and Indian Americans are ecstatic. Shri Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit the United States from June 21 to June 23, 2023
They are wrongly called a diaspora, for Indian immigrants and their descendants to the West are largely the result of migration – and not forced exodus as was the case with the Jews of Palestine. Their enterprise is an initiative motivated by the desire to seek a better life outside their home country father than ejection from the land of their roots. And, in bringing their roots with them, they enjoy inordinate influence as India, now the most populous country in the world with 1.4 billion people, positions itself to be the largest international market as well. Their roots have contributed to the enormous achievements made abroad – more than any other immigrant group.
Unlike the prior generation, which took jobs in the bureaucracy or academia, Indian origin peoples have more influence in politics and business than any analogous group. From running the UK and leading Scotland, to managing Microsoft, Google, and Chanel, Indian origin people are occupying top influential positions the world over.
Narendra Modi rising influence is indisputable as he becomes only the third Indian Prime Minister to make an official state visit to the United States and the first Indian PM to address During his visit, Shri Modi will also make history by becoming the first Indian PM to address the a joint meeting of the US Congress twice.
The Prime Minister’s invitation to address the US Congress, according to Indian Americans, serves as a reminder of the much-touted strategic relationship between the US and India, and their historical positions which is to say, their common commitment to global stability and prosperity, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.
A 21-gun salute will accompany President Biden and the First Lady as they welcome the Prime Minister on June 22. More than 7000 Indian Americans are expected to be present. The registration period for those attending the welcome ceremony will soon come to an end, according to the White House.
Prime Minister Modi will also address the American captains of industry, including presidents and CEOs of the leading US corporations.
Prior to going to Washington, Prime Minister Modi will go to New York on June 21st which is International Yoga Day. In 2014, Mr. Modi was the driving force behind the United Nations campaign to recognize June 21st, the longest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere with special significance in the Hindu calendar, as International Yoga Day. Mr. Modi who is known for fasting and engaging in daily yoga will lead the an event commemorating the occasion on the north lawns of the United Nations campus in New York City. For India, the event, coming before the PM even goes to Washington is significant in punctuating the nation’s proprietorial claim to the ancient practice, which originated in India.
For long, India was regarded as a poor country and then a developing nation. In the decade, though, the situation has evolved rapidly. Govind Dholakia, the Diamond baron from the Prime Minister’s home state of Gujarat, said, “Thanks to Shri Narandra Modi-ji India not only rose high with the IT generation but also by flying above every expectation of analysts and the people in terms of building infrastructure and helping people make financial progress in every sphere in the country. We are nothing less than transformed as a nation.”
Indeed, just last year, the United States became India’s largest trading partner with bilateral goods and services trade exceeding $191 billion, double what it was in 2014.
Moreover, recently launched U.S.-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET), elevates and expands the strategic technology partnership between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of the two countries.
Indian commerce is alive and well in the USA with 160 Indian companies are present throughout all 50 US states and have collectively generated over $40 billion in tangible investments in the US. Together, they have created or saved over 425,000 jobs in the US. Their financing of US-based Research and Development (R&D) projects with nearly $1 billion invested, as well as corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts with nearly $195 million invested, is also on the rise.
The brain trust, which has been India’s best export comprising 200,000 Indian students in the United States contributed approximately $7.7 billion annually to the U.S. economy. Certainly, India has the essential ingredients to be a leading exporter of talent: a mass of young people and first-class higher education. Indians’ mastery of English, a legacy of British colonial rule, probably helps, too. Only 22% of Indian immigrants in America above the age of five say they have no more than a limited command of English, compared with 57% of Chinese immigrants, according to the Migration Policy Institute (mpi), an American think-tank.
While it’s easy to get lost in the pomp and circumstance of the events being held, officials insist that substantive discussions will take place in the areas of information technology and defence. “”The ceremonial and substantive part of the state visit will be unparalleled,” Taranjit Sandhu, India’s ambassador to the United States, asserted.
Indeed, the visit is important as the US seeks to counter China’s growing clout and look to possibly move its investments. Political scientist Sumit Ganguly said, “The [Joe] Biden administration is desperately courting India – they need a potential counterweight to China, for global supply chain and for investment reasons.” It could also provide an opportunity for the US to urge India, which so far has been walking a fine line, to openly condemn Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
The United States and India have long been strategic partners in defence. The upcoming visit will see Modi and Biden discuss how both can cooperate in space for “planetary defence”. Should the talks transpire, it would elevate the strategic relationship between the two nations to a new level.
(some of the above facts were provided by Indiaspora in their press release of 14th June, 2023.)