Ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the White House on 7 June, a US-based think-tank has commended the Indian leader's transition from a "pariah" to someone who is celebrated by the US government. During his visit to the US, Modi will meet with President Barack Obama and also address a joint meeting of the US Congress on 8 June.
The Carnegie Endowment For International Peace noted that this would be Modi's seventh meeting with President Obama since he took office in 2014, setting new records for both governments in respect to meeting a head of government from a country that is not a formal ally of the United States. The think-tank spoke of the "personal relationship" that has developed between the two leaders, as well as the "surprising quality of it", given Modi's history with the US.
According to the Press Trust Of India, Milan Vaishnav from the Carnegie said on 31 May: "In the course of just two years, Modi has gone from just [someone] who could not step foot on American soil as a legal matter to addressing a joint meeting of the US Congress. He has gone from somebody who was basically a pariah to someone who is now going to be celebrated by Washington."
In 2005, the US denied a visa to Modi for his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, which saw hundreds of Muslims killed in communal violence while Modi was chief minister of the state. The visa ban remained in place until Modi was elected as India's prime minister nine years later in 2014.
Carnegie said that defence cooperation is likely to be the main outcome of Modi's visit to the US next week and added that the India-US relationship has "a full agenda". The think-tank also gave "full marks" to Modi's foreign policy and said that the only area where he had fallen short is with Pakistan and Nepal.
Viashnav said: "Despite that President Obama and the US government having zero relationship [with Modi] as a matter of stated US government policy, it is fair to say that the two have forged a close working relationship. It is an achievement that should not be minimised. The two have forged a pretty close rapport and Modi has invested in broadening and deepening ties with the US."