WASHINGTON U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington next month to discuss security and other issues, the White House said on Friday.
In a statement, the White House said Obama and Modi will discuss economic growth, climate change, clean energy, and security and defense cooperation during the meeting on June 7, which follows Obama’s trip to New Delhi in January 2015.
“The visit will highlight the deepening of the U.S.-India relationship in key areas,” the statement said. The two countries’ partnership is seen as critical in Washington, which is seeking to counterbalance China’s increasing power.
Modi will address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress, an opportunity extended to few foreign leaders, the day after the White House meeting, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a tweet.
In 2005, then-U.S. President George W. Bush’s administration denied Modi a visa, citing a 1998 U.S. law barring entry to foreigners who have committed “particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”
More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in sectarian riots in Gujarat in 2002 when Modi had just become the state’s chief minister. He has denied any wrongdoing, and India’s Supreme Court in 2010 ruled there was no case.
Obama, who has adopted a “pivot to Asia” strategy, quickly dismissed the issue by inviting Modi to the White House when he called to congratulate him on winning India’s 2014 election.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Tim Ahmann; Editing by W Simon)