WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — California Congressman Ami Bera, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, joined forces this week with House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce and other members in sending a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan requesting India Prime Minister Narendra Modi be granted an opportunity to address a joint-meeting of congress.

Ranking member Eliot Engel (D-NY) and George Holding (R-NC) also attached their names to the letter. The Prime Minister has scheduled a visit to the nation’s capital in June, and the aforementioned members of congress believe this to be the most opportune time to hear from Modi on relations between the U.S. and India. In the letter, the members write that it is their understanding Modi would accept the offer.

The members write in the letter: “Given the depth of our relationship with India across a range of areas — defense, humanitarian and disaster relief, space cooperation, conservation and innovation — we believe this is an ideal opportunity for the Congress to hear directly from the Prime Minister. The U.S.-India relationship consistently garners strong bipartisan support. Inviting Prime Minister Modi to address a Joint Meeting will allow Congress to express support for this special global partnership”


The U.S. and India signed a defense framework agreement to increase military cooperation and the civilian nuclear agreement in 2008. The latter agreement will directly result in the construction of nuclear power plants in India. Additionally, the letter noted the forging of stronger relationships between the two countries in addressing humanitarian crises, such as the aftermath of the recent Nepal earthquake, the renewable energies sector and in space exploration.

Since assuming office in 2008, president Obama has visited India twice. Modi has reciprocated with two trips stateside of his own.

In 2005, serving as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, Modi was denied entrance during a visit to the U.S. He was scheduled to deliver an address to Indian-Americans at a rally in Madison Square Garden, but was denied entrance into the country for failure to stop a series of deadly riots three years earlier by Hindus against minority Muslims in the Indian state of Gujarat, where he was chief minister.

The State Department invoked a little-known U.S. law passed in 1998 that makes foreign officials responsible for “severe violations of religious freedom” ineligible for visas. Mr. Modi is the only person ever denied a visa to the U.S. under this provision, U.S. officials confirm.