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Printable Page Headline News   Return to Menu - Page 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 13
 
 
Obama, Modi Put Upbeat Face on Ties    09/30 06:09

   President Barack Obama and India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi are 
trying to put an optimistic face on the future of relations between India and 
the United States, amid lingering concerns that the close ties the two 
democracies once enjoyed have lost their luster.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama and India's new Prime Minister 
Narendra Modi are trying to put an optimistic face on the future of relations 
between India and the United States, amid lingering concerns that the close 
ties the two democracies once enjoyed have lost their luster.

   An Oval Office meeting Tuesday with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden was 
to be the centerpiece of Modi's two-day visit to the White House, where Modi 
was to be greeted with a formal arrival ceremony outside the West Wing upon his 
arrival. Monday evening, Obama hosted his Indian counterpart for a private 
dinner --- despite the fact that Modi, a devout Hindu, was fasting.

   Typically, visiting heads of state spend just a portion of a day at the 
White House meeting with Obama and other U.S. leaders. The rare second day of 
attention from Obama underscored the White House's desire to give a warm 
welcome to a man who was once barred from even entering the U.S.

   Now the leader of the world's largest democracy, Modi was the top elected 
official in the Indian state of Gujarat more than a decade ago when religious 
riots there killed more than 1,000 Muslims. When Modi later requested a visa to 
visit the U.S., Washington said no. Modi has denied involvement in the violence.

   During their talks, Obama and Modi will focus on economic growth and 
cooperation on security, clean energy, climate change and other issues, the 
White House said. They will also address regional concerns, including 
Afghanistan, where the U.S. is winding down its 13-year military involvement, 
plus U.S.-led efforts to combat Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq.

   While military ties and defense trade between the two countries have grown, 
the economic relationship has been rockier, with Washington frustrated by 
India's failure to open its economy to more foreign investment and address 
intellectual property complaints. Challenges with an existing civil nuclear 
agreement and the arrest and strip search last year of an Indian diplomat have 
further fraying relations.

   Ahead of Modi's visit to Washington, he was given a rock star reception at 
New York's Madison Square Garden, where thousands of Indian-Americans flocked 
for a rare chance to see the new leader. The dazzling Bollywood-style dancers 
and dozens of U.S. lawmakers who took part highlighted the popular support Modi 
is enjoying on his first official visit to the U.S. since being elected in May.


(KA)


 
 
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