Indian prime minister arrives on US visit

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gives a news conference with Swiss President Johann Schneider Ammann after their meetings in Geneva Switzerland
Switzerland Backs India for Nuclear Supplier Group Membership REUTERS Denis Balibouse

20 June, 2016

An intimacy seemed to envelope the two as they sat in the garden of an old royal palace, smiling and chatting.

There are the gushing comments: Modi "transcends the ancient and the modern", Obama wrote in Time magazine. "Barack and I have formed a bond, a friendship", Modi said.

Relations between the countries are not always easy - India insists on staying out of formal alliances and forging its own course - but both leaders can boast that ties have improved.

For Modi, Tuesday's visit was a time to set the seal on what has been achieved and set the stage for what he hopes will be a mushrooming in US-India trade from $120 billion to $500 billion.

The President said Modi's leadership generates "new excitement", not only among the Indian Americans but also among Americans. "It's in the interests of pretty much every country he visits to stress the warmth of the personal relationship between their leader and the Indian prime minister".

"We have seen, in recent years, greater and closer coordination between USA and Indian national security officials". Based on the feedback he receives from people and think-tanks in the US, Singh said there is a very very positive assessment of the reforms that have taken place in the last two years. "An early start to negotiations on the Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Information would be important in this respect", Modi said.

Obama also offered high profile backing for Modi's bid to normalise India's once clandestine nuclear programme.

People are attracted to India for its ancient civilisation, he said. "We don't feel we're important until we've gotten some kind of endorsement, especially from Western countries".

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The clause was rendered irrelevant when Modi became Prime Minister, . An Indian Supreme Court-appointed panel eventually ruled that there was no evidence to charge Modi with a crime, but the incident has continued to haunt his career, even after he became prime minister in 2014.

Later, he met American Think Tank officials.

Indian-Americans in the US are looking forward to listening to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to a joint session of the US Congress with American lawmakers flooding with requests from the community members for tickets to the visitor's gallery on June 8.

On June 8 (Wednesday), the forenoon is devoted to events in the US Congress. "So scope for partnership is enormous", Modi told a gathering of heads of companies like ABB, Lafarge, Novartis and Nestle, according to a tweet by Vikas Swarup, the spokesman of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

I am thankful for the help and support that my friend Barack Obama has extended with regard to membership in MTCR and NSG.

-Modi is likely to meet members from both the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as members of the teams of all major presidential hopefuls.

The artefacts, which range from an idol of the Hindu god Ganesha to a figure of the Jain deity Bahubali, were reportedly stolen from museums and temples over the years and then smuggled into the U.S., says an India Today article. "Switzerland and India stressed their shared resolve to take action against tax fraud and tax avoidance and underlined the high quality of their cooperation in this area", the Swiss government said in a press statement.

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