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PM Modi’s visit to US was on a completely different level: Jaishankar

PM Narendra Modi during his recent visit to Washington

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said that the recent state visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States (US) was on a completely different level, adding that this was the only time where an Indian Prime Minister had addressed a joint session of the Congress twice.

Adding that no other Prime Minister of India has ever done this, the External Affairs Minister said, “This was only the second state visit of an Indian Prime Minister. That the only other state visit which has ever happened before was Dr Manmohan Singh in 2009. Secondly, this was the only time… that only time where a Prime Minister of India has addressed a joint session of the congress twice. No other Prime Minister of India has ever done this.” Responding to a question on how PM Modi’s US visit was different, the EAM said that the first visit where he was physically present in Washington was Rajiv Gandhi’s visit in 1985.

Explaining all the visits of Indian leaders thereafter in Kolkata, he said, “And if you look at all the visits that have happened thereafter, generally speaking, if people said, okay, what were the three big visits in our history? People would have said PM Narendra Modi’s visit in 2014, the Madison Square Garden visit. They would have said Dr Manmohan Singh visit where the nuclear deal would have been done. And probably they would have said Rajiv Gandhi’s visit because he tried really to smoothen out ties with the United States, which had been difficult in the period before.”

He said, “Now, I actually was there in Washington for each of these three visits. So with those three visits as a kind of benchmark, I can tell you for sure this visit was a completely different level. And there are many ways by which I can sort of demonstrate to you that it was a different level, because, say, in diplomacy, one easy yardstick is protocol.”

He asserted that there are only four people, two of them Israelis, however, it is only Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill who have addressed the joint session of the US Congress more than once, as the EAM hailed PM Modi’s US visit.

During his US visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended various events and met top Indian and American CEOs.

He received a ceremonial welcome and guard of honour at the White House upon his arrival.He was hosted by US President Joe Biden as well as First Lady Jill Biden for a state dinner at the White House, as well as a State Luncheon by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and US Vice President Kamala Harris.

Before emplaning for Egypt, PM Modi interacted with the Indian diaspora at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC and compared the meeting with a “sweet dish” at his farewell address.