By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
This week, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, visited the USA in a whirlwind diplomacy tour. After meeting with international leaders at the United Nations General Assembly last week in New York, he gave speeches to mega crowds and made his first major visit to the White House.
Back in May, Modi won the biggest democratic election on Earth, when India’s 540 million voters chose which lawmakers would represent them in the Congress-like parliament. Over 50 parties competed for power, in a complex web of alliances where the two biggest fish are the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Because of India’s struggling economy, the pro-business BJP won majority power, and its leader, Narendra Modi, claimed victory as India’s next Prime Minister.
This historic victory overturned the INC’s iron grip on political power, which it held ever since the country became independent from Britain in 1947. At first, it seemed like India’s relations with the USA would be tense, since there was drama with Modi in 2005 over the perception that he wasn’t cracking down enough on anti-Muslim violence in his region. He was even denied a visa, which non-USA citizens need in order to visit, work, and live in America. However, Obama called to congratulate Modi on his victory, promised him a visa, and invited him to Washington. This week, that invitation was warmly accepted!
As far as India’s economy, it spiked in response to Modi and his party winning, as confidence surged in the business world. He also received rockstar applause during his public appearances in New York, and was very positive about India’s future partnership with America during his visit with Obama. He and the president wrote a joint article for The Washington Post, outlining their shared vision. They said that “the true potential of our relationship has yet to be fully realized” and are looking forward to finding “mutually rewarding ways to expand our collaboration in trade, investment and technology that harmonize with India’s ambitious development agenda, while sustaining the United States as the global engine of growth.”
As Modi wraps up his USA visit, India celebrated the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2. Gandhi was a non-violent protester who helped India overthrow British rule, leading to the Indian Independence Act of 1947. Now, Modi hopes to see his country rise to the heights of other great nations, using his strong diplomacy and business savvy.
Images courtesy of Narendra Modi Facebook.