India’s Prime Minister Modi to Visit the US This Week: What to Expect

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden have extended an invitation to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the United States from 21st June to 24th June 2023. The visit will be his first since the last one in 2016. 

The Prime Minister’s agenda for the trip starts with celebrating International Yoga Day at the United Nations with Secretary-General Guterres on the 21st June. Whilst visiting New York and Washington, Prime Minister Modi will discuss bilateral relations, global politics, and the Indo-Pacific region on the 22nd and 23rd in Washington.  

On the 23rd, Sannam S4 Group’s Chairman and Founder, Adrian Mutton and Seamless’s Executive Director for North America, Michael Green, will be among Prime Minister Modi’s audience as he takes to the stage to address top business leaders at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.  PM Modi will pay significant recognition to the strength of the nearly 5 million Indian migrants in the US and will also host an invite-only event for community leaders of the Indian diaspora on the evening of the 23rd at the Ronald Reagan and International Trade Center. Prime Minister Modi will go on to join the presidential family for dinner and afterwards, will address a joint Congressional gathering, the second of its kind during his tenure.

PM Modi’s visit to the United States has significant implications for a wide range of reasons, and celebrations for this visit are set to be plentiful, including a series of India Unity Marches around the country on the 18th June. Historically, it will be the first time an Indian Prime Minister has more than one state visit to the U.S. in the term of their leadership.  

Making Sense of This Visit’s Importance

PM Modi’s upcoming state visit to the U.S. is one of critical importance and couldn’t have come at a better time in regards to the current geopolitical landscape. In a recent event for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), Lisa Curtis of the Center for a New American Security and Ashley Tellis of the CEIP, discussed the increasing convergence of U.S. and Indian interests and how the U.S. can strategically move forward in its relationship with India.

As the world’s largest democracy, India sits at an important crossroads in South East Asia and is a beacon of democratic development for other Asian countries.  Given potential Chinese territorial encroachment though, it’s  important for U.S. officials to support India and foster open collaboration between the two nations.  India has already been an example that other Asian nations have sought to follow, so their potential as a counter influence to China could create a positive ripple effect throughout the continent.

In 2024 both Prime Minister Modi and President Joe Biden will run in their respective national elections. The outcomes of the Indian national election will be reported in May whilst the U.S will remain on tenterhooks until November which is when the outcomes will be reported there.

Prime Minister Modi aims to project an economically progressive vision with India playing a critical role on the global stage.  This visit to the world’s largest economy will provide the Prime Minister that platform and also, for President Joe Biden and his Vice President, Kamala Harris, the visit is an opportunity to strengthen the strategic importance of the Indo-U.S. relationship in order to counter the rise of China in the region. 

Further Economic and Strategic Cooperation

In advance of PM Modi’s visit, top officials from the U.S. have been laying the foundations for economic and strategic collaboration on trips to the Indian state. At the beginning of the month, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin travelled to India to meet with Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and other officials to firmly cement the U.S. interest in maintaining Indo-Pacific stability. As part of this meeting, the U.S. will facilitate Indian access to technologies that will bolster their defence initiatives through the U.S.-India Defense Industrial Cooperation and the India-U.S. Defense Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X). Additionally, Austin met with officials in India to emphasise the importance of cross-border collaboration between the two nations in both business and education.

Secretary Austin’s visit to India also highlights the importance of maritime collaboration, as he was welcomed by Indian representatives of the Quad Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness Initiative (IPMDA). The Quad, or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is a coalition between the U.S., Australia, Japan, and India, which is aimed at addressing security and economic concerns through collaboration. IPMDA is the Quad’s recent initiative to ensure open and fair access to the Indian Ocean. The initiative will allow its partners to access real-time, unclassified information on maritime activity, using an Automatic Identification System and radio-frequency technology, in waters around the Pacific Islands, South East Asia, and Indian Ocean.

On the education front, over 200,000 Indians study in the United States every year.  Student mobility remains a key element of the close people-to-people ties that have developed between the two countries.  Expect discussions about how more can be done to attract U.S. students to India as well as India’s broader efforts to liberalise its education sector.  This includes attracting top international universities to set up programs in Gujarat International Finance Tech (GIFT) City.

Given the economic and strategic priorities, we don’t expect too much attention around India’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).  The FCRA regulates the movement of funds into India’s nonprofit sector.  Despite universities being nonprofits as well as many public health and other civil society organisations, India’s stance towards this sector continues to evolve and become more strict given its domestic priorities.  

Seamless: The Catalyst for Strengthening the Bilateral Relationship

The U.S.-India partnership is constantly evolving and will continue to be of political, social, and economic importance for the coming decades. Many refer to it as the “defining relationship of the 21st Century.”  In addition to being the world’s largest democracy, India is the world’s largest nation by population size, which offers businesses a fountain of economic growth. American business owners are increasingly turning towards India for expansion, but navigating compliance and regulatory standards as an American business in India, is still a difficult task. This is where the team of end to end expansion experts at Seamless come in. Their combined knowledge, skills and expertise within the Indian marketplace, can help and support businesses or entities who are looking to expand their global footprint into South and South East Asia, India, and beyond.