Modi’s Passage to America
“In the century ahead, U.S. strategic interests will align more closely with India’s than they will with those of any other continental power in Asia.” Nicholas Burns, former diplomat, professor, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
For the latest, and Global coverage of Mr. Modi’s trip, please click on the following links: Indo-US Partnership to be a Model in International Relations and Global Coverage
A PASSAGE TO AMERICA – NARENDRA MODI AND INDO-US RELATIONS
by SB Veda
In advance of Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States, expectations are high – not only for what Mr. Modi might be able do to facilitate trade and to help jump-start the Indian economy (stagnating these past 10 years under an impotent Prime Minister) but also write a new chapter in Indo-US relations, damaged so severely recently by a litany of avoidable diplomatic problems – this on both sides of the divide.
With Obama’s Asia pivot announced two years ago but now much derided due to events in the Middle East and Eastern Europe – his rebalancing of policy in South Asia, in particular, will be critical to salvaging a foreign policy known for confusion and disarray.
OBAMA’S SHAKY START
Instead of building on the momentum created by the Clinton and Bush administrations – and despite clear indications of Pakistani duplicity on terrorism, Obama announced a Pakistani-centric agenda.
This could be because his Vice-President, Joseph Biden, former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, may have been back-seat driving foreign policy. From the moment her appointment during President Obama’s first term was announced, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was viewed with suspicion by the administration. This was mainly due to the vicious battle waged with her over the Democratic Party Presidential nomination. Rather than being viewed favorably by State Department mandarins, it was seen as a way for Mr. Obama to mend fences with the Clintons – a formidable power block within the Democratic Party.
From the beginning, Mrs. Clinton was given far from a free hand. Instead of permitting her appointing of Richard Hollbrooke as her deputy (he was her foreign policy advisor during her bid for the presidential nomination) Mr. Obama asked him to serve as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Af-Pak as it was euphemistically called.
Mr. Hollbrooke was given presidential mandate and his own floor in The State Department but Mr. Obama never once met with him one-on-one. It was as though, he was being insulated out of design: should he fail, the failure would be his alone, insulating both the sitting president and Mrs. Clinton, whom many expected to seek the nomination again.
Vali Nasr, who worked under Mr. Hollbrooke writes, “Obama had not given him (Hollbrooke) enough authority (and would give him almost no support) to get the job done. After he took office, the president never met with Holbrooke outside large meetings and never gave him time and heard him out.”
Aside from Clinton’s marginalization, the appointment was an indication of the optics around West and South Asia, The USA’s Afghanistan and Pakistan policies were once again tied together – India, already a significant contributor to post-Taliban Afghanistan’s civilian development was virtually ignored – this despite the strong cultural and historical ties between the two nations as well as India’s support of The Northern Alliance at a time when the West, including Mr. Biden, was enabling the Taliban.
Few in Indian diplomatic circles were surprised, for Biden had long been known as a politician in the pocket of the Pak lobby in Washington – and once even stood-up the sitting Indian Ambassador to the United States – the equivalent in diplomacy of flashing middle finger.
The evolution of varying centers of influence left Obama’s foreign policy in a condition of continual tension. Writes Nasr: “my time in the Obama administration turned out to be a deeply disillusioning experience. The truth is that his administration made it extremely difficult for its own foreign policy experts to be heard. Both Clinton and Holbrooke, two incredibly dedicated and talented people, had to fight to have their voices count on major foreign-policy initiatives.”
The situation on the Indian side, though different, was no better.
In his book, “The Accidental Prime Minister”, Manmohan Singh’s former media advisor, Sanjay Baru describes the power structure in Delhi as unequal relationship between the head of government, Mr. Singh and the Chairman of the political Party, Sonia Gandhi. With the exception of the Indo-US nuclear deal in which a skeptical Congress Party was forced to accept on threat of resignation by Mr. Singh (done before the Congress Party had groomed Rahul Gandhi, Sonia’s son as Singh’s successor)
Mrs. Gandhi typically won out. In fact, she was rarely opposed by anyone, even Mr. Singh.
However, in 2009, with Mr. Singh unambiguously projected as Prime Ministerial candidate by the UPA, he could have taken the re-election of the political alliance as a mandate by the people in his leadership – and flexed his muscles. He chose not to. In fact, Mr. Baru, in an interview to Foreign Policy described it as “The essence of the failure of this prime ministership.”
He added, “(Singh) never empowered himself politically. He had the opportunity in 2009, where the mandate was his, the people had voted for him. He did not claim the mandate.”
The results were disastrous to Indian foreign policy as Mr. Baru describes:
“I believe in the realm of foreign policy UPA2 (the re-elected United Progressive Alliance headed by The Congress Party of Mr. Singh and Mrs. Gandhi) subverted UPA1 across the board. Whether it is our relationship with the US, China, ASEAN, or even our own neighbors, UPA2 did not build on the gains of UPA1. The Nuclear Liability Bill, in the context of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal, is a good example of taking two steps back after achieving a historic deal. Even with China, it was a tough act to keep a balance, but till the border row last year where India toughened its stand, we had acted like push-overs and let the relationship drift.”
The nuclear liability law referred to by Mr. Baru above, started out as a sound piece of legislation, by any international standard. However, Mr. Singh relented to political pressure to incorporate certain stringencies in the Act as represented by Clauses 17(a), (b) and (c) that allow the operator a ‘right of recourse’ vis-a-vis a supplier. The amendment halted all progress on the much-heralded Indo-US nuclear agreement with suppliers scared of being on the hook for potential claims that, in their view, would be illegitimate.
Mr. Singh’s government was rocked by corruption allegations and failed to implement promised reforms in retail, insurance, energy, and infrastructure. New Delhi unwisely imposed discriminatory taxes on foreign investors and enacted protectionist measures that impeded trade.
After agreeing to allow foreign companies to open retail outlets in India without a majority stake Indian partner, Mr. Singh left it to individual states to implement the critical economic agreement, in a sense, abdicating the authority of the Central government, in whose domain it is to set economic policy. A few states are implementing it but most have caved to populist demands, and refused to implement it.
While Walmart and other large US retailers are watching and waiting, the Swedish mega-furniture retailer, Ikea, recently announced that it is opening operations in Karnataka and Telangana, setting up a ‘furniture park’ in the latter.
A series of bitterly fought U.S.-Indian trade disputes took center stage, overshadowing the political and military ties that had been the substance of a growing partnership. These skirmishes scuttled any new economic progress between the two nations.
As with any change of government, the arrival of Modi provides an opportunity to change course. Already, the Telegraph (India) has confirmed that government officials and US Business are working hand-in-glove to out-nuance the difficult clauses of the nuclear liability law. Mr. Modi, himself, is due to meet with the CEO of General Electric on September 29th. The company plans to open and operate a nuclear facilities in Gujarat (Mr. Modi’s home state) and Andhra Pradesh.
The Indian Prime Minister intends to sell US big business on India’s infrastructure plans, and ask Goldman Sachs and other MNCs the heads of which he is scheduled to meet to seek assistance in funding the development. He knows that the two biggest impediments to foreign investment are: political interference; and lack of infrastructure. On his part, his supporter say he embodies the opposite of the former, and his plans seem indicative of intent remedy the latter. The ambitious infrastructure plan will cost around one trillion dollars, and is the largest project of its kind in Indian history.
It’s all part of Mr. Modi’s setting the stage to implement his slogan “Make in India”, imploring foreign manufacturers to set up operations in the republic. The idea of Indian manufactured goods may bring more than a chuckle or two to the Western consumer. But, Kia cars were ridiculed when they began rolling off the assembly lines in South Korea; now, they are winning awards – and today, South Korea’s flagship companies, Samsung and LG have become electronics giants. Those in Mr. Modi’s camp wonder why the same can’t be done in India, which boasts to produce one third of the world’s population of engineers.
Already, his approach has managed to change the outlook for most infrastructure sectors after three years of sluggish growth under his predecessor. These improvements have significantly taken place without any surge in investments from domestic private sector infrastructure players, most of whom are cash-strapped and struggling with legacy investments, officials said.
Under the UPA, public private partnerships in the highways sector had virtually ground to a halt. In the first few months of its mandate, Modi’s NDA government has managed to award contracts to build 1,860 km of new highways in the first five months of this year – almost 60% of the road length for which the UPA awarded contracts in all of 2013-14. During this same period 1,512 km or more than a third of new highways constructed in the entire previous fiscal have been completed complete (Source: The Economic Times).
All of this is positive but the Indo-US relationship is not about economics alone.
In his recent essay in Foreign Affairs, former diplomat, columnist and academic, Nicholas Burns, wrote that, “In the century ahead, U.S. strategic interests will align more closely with India’s than they will with those of any other continental power in Asia.”
Both countries seek to spread democracy, expand trade and investment, counter terrorism, and, above all, keep the region peaceful by balancing China’s growing military power.
Mr. Burns added, “As Washington expands its presence in Asia as part of the so-called pivot, New Delhi will be a critical partner. In the Asia-Pacific region, especially, India joins Australia, Japan, South Korea, and others in a U.S.-led coalition of democratic allies. And as the most powerful state in South Asia, India will exert a positive influence on a troubled Afghanistan, as well as on Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.”
He argues that Obama, in his remaining two years in office ought to make India a greater priority, especially since the country has not yet figured prominently in the rebalancing of U.S. attention and resources to Asia. Recognizing that Obama’s prioritization of Pakistan and China had rankled Indian officials and eroded some of their trust in Washington, deserves to be rebalanced.
When Mr. Modi addresses a sell-out crowd at Madison Square Gardens on September 28th, it will offer Indian Amercians, only 1% of America’s population but vastly better educated and economically enabled than the average, an opportunity to showcase their wealth, influence and pride. Washington’s appointing of Indian American, Richard (Rahul) Verma to the post of Ambassador to New Delhi seeks to project Indian Americans in that light, and build greater trust with India. Mr. Verma should bring new sophistication to the job, his being a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. And, he is an Obama’s insideras well as being legislative lead for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and during Obama’s early campaign days in 2008.
Indian Americans are not universally viewed as friendly by the Indian government as Brown-busting prosecutor Preet Bharar proved in his malicious prosecution of Indian Diplomat, Devyani Khobragade and others. However, most commentators in India have reacted positively to the appointment.
American policy makers would be wise to keep in mind that Indians, largely secular and liberal in their outlook, brought Mr. Modi, a Hindu nationalist into power because he signaled that he wanted to build a more ambitious partnership with the United States. As Burns notes, he cannot do it alone.
“That will happen only if Obama pushes India to the top of his foreign policy agenda and Modi implements a series of reforms to enable stronger economic and political ties between the two governments.”
The leaders must endeavor to expand bilateral trade, strengthening military cooperation, collaborate to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, help develop and stabilize Afghanistan. The two nations must also share a common path on issues of a global nature such as climate change.
“It is an ambitious agenda,” writes burns, “but pursuing it would put India where it belongs: at the center of U.S. strategy in the region.”
Mr. Obama will find willing partners at home to help Mr. Modi’s with his main priority: resuscitating the near comatose Indian economy. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party won a landslide victory in the spring mainly because voters had grown frustrated by India’s declining growth trend, her crumbling infrastructure, and epidemic government corruption. The scale of Mr. Modi’s decisive victory sent a compelling message on the necessity for dramatic economic reform, which the new Prime Minister has promised to deliver.
But in the past two years, U.S.-Indian trade disputes have derailed economic cooperation. The United States has made legitimate complaints about Indian protectionism, and the two governments have filed World Trade Organization cases against each other involving such goods as solar panels, steel, and agricultural products. Invoking safety concerns, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has also banned imports from more than a dozen Indian plants, mostly in the pharmaceutical industry. This has been seen by India as punitive, especially since Indian courts stopped attempts by US pharmaceutical companies to patent some of those same natural medicines.
The confrontation over agricultural protectionism ultimately caused the Doha Round of international trade negotiations to collapse in 2008. Since then, the two countries have been unable to bridge their ideological divide. The estrangement is so great that India was excluded from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Washington and New Delhi must now prevent the inevitable trade disputes from overwhelming the political and military cooperation that binds the two countries together.
The two leaders will only be able rebuild their economic ties incrementally, rifts healing over time.
When they meet in Washington, they should set a reasonable deadline for the bilateral investment treaty, which the two nations have been negotiating for more than a decade. India should be provided incentives for continuing on a path of financial liberalization that would help India gain acceptance into the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, a regional trade group that has denied New Delhi membership for over two decades because the member states consider Indian trade policies to be too protectionist. Support from the United States could help Mr. Modi distance his new government from the statist policies of his predecessors.
With little diversification in its military arsenal, India has up till now been locked into the use of Russian technology, and with it, a dependency on Russia. As India’s greatest national security concern is its competition with China for regional military dominance (evidenced by Indian officials ranking China as a greater long-term concern than Pakistan) India should endeavor to have closer military ties with the United States. Mr. Modi has already begun to build a close relationship with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The United States should welcome stronger Indian-Japanese defense coordination, since it would further the U.S. goal of strengthening its regional security network of Asian democracies as China expands its own power base.
According to Burns, India will be a more reliable and trusting partner than Pakistan has ever been.
While Burns, the former Bush era bureaucrat is not whispering in Obama’s ear, someone is passing on a similar message: The United States has conducted more military exercises with India than with any other nation in recent years. This ought to be burnished by growing air and naval cooperation.
“Obama could make India a more prominent part of the pivot to Asia by including its forces in all the military training and exercises the United States conducts in the region,” writes Mr. Burns.
In the final analysis, the United States and India must agree on a clear strategic plan to cement their military and political cooperation in Asia.
Even as the United States and India tighten their military ties, Obama and Modi must be careful to avoid creating the appearance of an anti-China coalition; looking for common ground on other issues with Beijing would help this cause. Joint programs with Beijing to combat piracy, drugs, and crime, as Mrs. Clinton suggested in 2011 would go a long way to mitigate the perception of an Indo-US axis developing against China. The balance between cooperation and competition is a delicate one, requiring constant reassurance to Beijing that the fundamental power structures in Asia are not being realigned. That said, the most effective way to keep the peace in Asia is for India and the USA to avoid undermining each other’s military strength in the region.
Obama should strengthen U.S. cooperation with India on counterterrorism and homeland security — areas in which U.S. and Indian interests align particularly closely, especially due to the insidious growth in the last decade of terrorist groups based in Pakistan, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Mr. Burns goes further, though, “The United States should support India’s determined efforts to combat the Naxalite insurgency, a violent Maoist movement active in more than half of India’s states.”
Other areas of potential cooperation lie in cyber-defence and missile defence.
Given the size of India’s Muslim population, and Al Qaeda’s recent announcement that it has set up a wing in India, the NDA government will want to consult more closely with the United States on the rise of extremism in Syria, Iraq and India itself.
In calculating regional equations, the variable of Afghanistan, Hollbrooke’s former bailiwick, cannot be ignored. India is currently the fifth-largest provider of economic assistance to the West Asian country and Indian firms have been active in rebuilding the country’s infrastructure.
Previously, bowing to Pakistani demands, the Bush and Obama administrations tried to limit India’s involvement in Afghanistan. However, with U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan being set within a year, the United States should encourage India to become a leading partner of the newly elected Afghan government, including taking on an active role in training the Afghan army. Washington should also reach out to Indian officials to include them more actively in its long-term planning to stabilize the new Afghan democracy, still plagued as it is with vote-rigging and other democratic impediments.
Mr. Obama would do well to continue his predecessor’s policy of “dehyphenating” the U.S. relationship with India and Pakistan. For decades, successive U.S. administrations treated India and Pakistan policy as a single unit. The Bush administration deviated from it in 2005 by pursuing independent and quite different policies with the two countries, permitting the inking of a civil nuclear agreement, for instance, without feeling obligated to negotiate an identical deal with Pakistan. (Naturally, a reciprocal agreement would have been impossible, due to Pakistan’s disastrous and dangerous record on proliferation of its nuclear materials.)
“Although the United States needs to maintain an effective relationship with Pakistan,” writes Mr. Burns, “building a more durable partnership with India will bring much greater strategic benefit in the long term.”
Finally, the United States and India must find a way to work together more effectively on leading global political challenges. U.S. officials have long felt frustrated by the fact that although the two countries consider themselves to share a close bilateral relationship, they are more often than not seen to be opposing one another at United Nations and in other multilateral bodies. Domestically, successive weak Indian leaders have found it expedient to bow to popular anti-US sentiment, which was spawned by the Congress Party under three generations of Nehru-Gandhis.
Messrs. Obama and Modi have a unique opportunity to break that pattern, especially as Mr. Modi is known to be a strong leader. Well-respected Muslim Journalist and BJP spokesperson, MJ Akbar has called him “a tough guy.” He added, “Narendra Modi’s leadership is essential for the country.” If Mr. Akbar is to be taken at his word, he is not only a tough guy, but also a tough guy with a strong mandate, being the first Prime Minister to be elected with an outright majority in thirty years.
The two nations ought to search for common ground this year on one big challenge: climate change on which India has been a historically weak partner to the United States. But this is no easy challenge: since its independence, nearly, India has been a proud and insistent advocate of nonalignment and of resisting what its diplomats often view as overbearing pressure to bow to US dictum; and US talk of climate change seems hypocritical and self-serving to the developing world, the US being responsible for putting the majority of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Still, with environmental consciousness growing within India, it cannot be ignored. And, the US must give some credence to the international legal concept of differential responsibility for climate change, and be willing to do proportionately more than its partners in the developing world – even the biggest polluters like India and China.
As Washington and New Delhi work more closely together, each will manage its domestic pressures. Indian leaders, for their part, must meet the United States halfway on trade. If India continues to oppose meaningful global trade liberalization, the two countries will remain fundamentally at odds. Indian officials must endeavor to understand and relay to their political masters that U.S. trade complaints against New Delhi are not conspiratorially driven to weaken their country, as is often alleged. The United States has fought vigorous trade battles between with its greatest trading partner, Canada and also with European Union with whom they continue to maintain strong alliances. For their part, the US hasn’t had an unblemished record of adhering to the judgments of international trade tribunals – and in this area they must clean up their act.
US diplomats and policy-makers will have to develop a long-term position on how to deal with India, recognizing the unique nature of this great-power relationship. The United States has no analogue of this relationship with any other country. India is too big and too proud to become a formal treaty ally of the United States, as Germany and Japan are. India cannot abandon its military ties to Russia; nor can it stop trading with Iran.
“The United States is accustomed to calling the shots with its allies in Europe and East Asia. That won’t work with India,” writes Mr. Burns, “which will insist on equal standing with United States…American diplomats must therefore pay special attention to Indian sensitivities, maintaining a realistic sense of what is and what is not possible with modern India.”
As Gary Bass’ The Blood Telegrapm, a remarkably vivid account of US policy during the Indo-Pak war of 1971, indicates, personalities can affect policy in compelling ways. Richard Nixon’s dislike of Indira Gandhi and his personal affection for General Yahya Khan, caused him not only to turn a blind eye to Pakistani genocide during the war to liberate Bangladesh but he also aided and abetted Khan by selling him weapons, even attempting to intimidate Mrs. Gandhi by sending the 7th Fleet into the Bay of Bengal.
George W. Bush got on famously with L.K. Advani, and not long afterwards, US hyphenation of policy in South Asia between India and Pakistan was abandoned. A new relationship independent of its smaller neighbor was sought by Washington.
Mr. Obama and Mr. Modi, at first look, do not seem to be very much alike. But there are compelling points of commonality as Neiil Joeck points out in Foreign Policy:
“The two men share interesting similarities. Modi is remembered by classmates as having a gift for rhetoric and debate; Obama’s successful entry to American politics came with a powerful speech delivered 10 years ago at the Democratic Party national convention. Modi is described as solitary and aloof — he seems to see himself as clinical but not cold; Obama’s cool demeanor is by now legendary. Modi is adamantly opposed to caste politics; Obama began political life with a desire to be a post-partisan leader. Modi, despite his background with the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), sees himself as highly pragmatic and not ideological; for his part, Obama has resisted calls for more extreme positions, seeming also to favor pragmatics over ideology. Finally, both owe their successful rise to national leadership not to being anointed by their respective party leadership, but by having widespread grass roots appeal.”
He adds, “Their personal histories may also draw them together. Modi took an independent path away from his father, with whom he had little contact throughout his adult life; shortly after his birth, Obama’s father left the family to return to Kenya. Modi’s mother lived long while Obama’s died young, but both apparently draw inspiration from their relationships with their mothers. They both have youthful experience behind the counter, so to speak — Modi as a child sold tea on trains passing through his hometown while Obama scooped ice cream for Baskin Robbins in Hawaii. These factors may seem ephemeral, but personal histories can sometimes glue disparate personalities together.”
While personality affinities alone cannot eliminate the very real and somewhat historical obstacles in the Indo-US strategic relationship, it might stimulate conversation over the dinner table where other players would have eaten in silence. Jawaharlal Nehru famously thought John F. Kennedy to be an intellectual lightweight and did not get his sense of humor (though he was all smiles with Jackie). His daughter, Indira Gandhi, refused a dance with the tall Texan, Lyndon Johnson on the grounds of what the optics would be at home, and thereafter was paranoid about the CIA destabilizing India. With Mr. Nixon succeeding Mr.Johnson, her fears were not unjustified. Still, one wonders what would have happened had she agreed to a quick spin. Let’s remember, Mrs. Gandhi was not known to be a wallflower.
Mr. Obama will host Mr. Modi at a state dinner, which will also be attended by certain cabinet ministers including Secretary of State John Kerry and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel.
This alone is seen by many as a triumph of sorts. Modi was accused — and the Bush administration accepted the accusation by denying him a visa to visit the United States several years ago — of at least overlooking and at worst abetting Hindu mob assaults on Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. Another recent book, a favorable biography of Modi (Andy Marino, Narendra Modi: A Political Biography), calls for a more careful look at the facts on the ground to address first what is portrayed as a media and Congress Party-led rush to judgment, and second an incomplete assessment of the role of external actors in fomenting the violence.
Nicholas Burns was among those in the Bush Administration, who were in favour of denying the visa. Today, even he is waxing lyrically about what it might be like to sit at Mr. Obama’s table, arguing that Mr. Obama and Mr. Modi ought to revive and cement a strong partnership in the days ahead. Such a renewed partnership could leave Afghanistan much better off and save the now much dipsaraged “pivot” to Asia, touted with confidence two years ago but now overshadowed by the Syrian, Iraqi, and Ukrainian crises.
The meal will be frugal, no doubt. Mr. Modi is fasting for Navaratri. This leaves ample room for conversation. Let us hope that it is fruitful.
Narendra Modi’s full itinerary in the United States:
September 26: Arrives in New York, stays at New York Palace Hotel; Mayor Bill de Blasio calls on Narendra Modi. Meets Nobel Prize-winning scientist Harold Eliot Varmus, director of the National Cancer Institute.
September 27: Visits Ground Zero and 9/11 memorial; participates in the General Debate of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly – on the theme “Delivering on and implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda”; bilateral meetings with Ban Ki-Moon, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sushil Koirala and Sheikh Hasina; to meet former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg; addresses annual Global Citizen Festival at Central Park; meets group of eminent Indian-Americans.
September 28: Addresses Indian-American community reception at the Madison Square Garden in midtown Manhattan; meet representatives of the Sikh community in the US and Canada.
PM Modi is to meet 10 distinguished Persons of Indian Origin. He will also meet members of the US Jewish community and attend a dinner reception at The Pierre, a luxurious heritage hotel owned by India’s Taj hotels, hosted by Indian Ambassador to the US, S.A. Jaishankar. The dinner reception would be attended by Indian Americans and Persons of Indian Origin.
September 29: Breakfast meeting with top CEOs of 11 US companies and later one-on-one meetings with six CEOS. The companies include Boeing, Pepsico, General Electric, Google, Goldman Sachs. Individual meetings with eminent people and with the intelligentsia; meets the Clintons in the morning; addresses Council on Foreign Relations, a leading think tank; leaves for Washington.
Arrives in Washington in the afternoon, checks into Blair House, the presidential state guest house across the street from the White House; private dinner with President Barack Obama at the White House.
September 30: Visits Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. memorial and Gandhi statue in front of the Indian embassy in Washington; formal summit meeting with Barack Obama at the White House; lunch with Joe Biden and John Kerry at the State Department; meeting on Capitol Hill with Congressional leaders hosted by Speaker John Boehner; Reception and policy address to the US-India Business Council (USIBC); leaves for India