US lawmakers applaud PM Modi’s address to Joint Meeting of Congress

Washington: Top American lawmakers have applauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his address to the Joint Meeting of the US Congress that called for deepening the strong friendship between the two democracies, fostered by a range of close economic ties and expanded cooperation on areas like defence, trade and technology.

Representing 1.4 billion Indians, Modi who addressed the US Congress on Thursday, said it is always a great honour and an exceptional privilege to address the US Congress twice. This is the second time that the prime minister has addressed the US Congress, the first time being in 2016.

“Prime Minister Modi’s address to Congress today emphasised the strong friendship that has been built between our two countries, fostered by a range of close economic ties and shared opportunities,” Senator Mark Warner, Chairperson of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus said.

“I’m pleased to see President Biden and Prime Minister Modi utilise this visit to continue to deepen the bonds between our countries and expand our cooperation on defence, trade, technology, and innovation,” he said.

“It’s also more important than ever – in the face of rising global authoritarianism – that we respect and reaffirm the shared values that form the foundations of our respective nations, such as democracy, universal human rights, tolerance and pluralism, and equal opportunity for all citizens,” Warner said.

“As the Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus, I look forward to this continued partnership because I know that the US-India relationship is one that’s worth investing in,” said the Senator who on Thursday introduced legislation to streamline the United States’ ability to consider defensive military sales to India under the U.S. Arms Export Control Act (AECA).

House Foreign Affairs Indo-Pacific Subcommittee Chairwoman Young Kim and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul in a statement warmly welcomed Modi’s visit and joint address to Congress, and the deepening of ties between the United States and India, including in defence and space cooperation, technology sharing, and people-to-people ties.

“This visit will serve to strengthen our shared commitment to a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific and support for a rules-based international order. Because of the impact the U.S-India relationship will have on creating prosperity and security for billions of people, we look forward to this visit advancing our cooperation and further strengthening US-India ties,” they said.

Congressman French Hill said during his address, Prime Minister Modi demonstrated his understanding of how important the relationship between our two nations is and how they must continue to build upon their economic partnership, shared values, and national security needs to expand democracy around the world.

“Prime Minister Modi is a key ally of the United States and I thank him for his leadership in strengthening the relationship between our two nations,” Hill said.

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar, and Jamaal Bowman boycotted the joint meeting.

“When it comes to standing up for human rights, actions speak louder than words. By bestowing Prime Minister Modi with the rare honour of a joint address, Congress undermines its ability to be a credible advocate for the rights of religious minorities and journalists around the world,” the four lawmakers said in a joint statement.

We stand in solidarity with the communities that have been harmed by Modi and his policies. We must never sacrifice human rights at the altar of political expediency and we urge all Members of Congress who profess to stand for freedom and democracy to join us in boycotting this embarrassing spectacle,” they said.