NEW YORK- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday started a visit to the United States which is rolling out the red carpet after shunning him for a decade, but a lawsuit revived past grievances.
The Hindu nationalist — who was refused a visa in 2005 over anti-Muslim riots when he was leader of Gujarat — pressed his hands together in a traditional namaste greeting on arrival in New York, where he will address the UN General Assembly on Saturday before heading to Washington.
Modi got to business quickly, meeting New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and discussing disease treatment with the director of the National Cancer Institute, Nobel laureate Harold Varmus.
On Sunday, Modi will achieve the feat of a rock star by greeting more than 18,000 people at the Madison Square Garden sports arena in an elaborate reception organized by Indian American activists, who have long campaigned to rehabilitate his image.
Modi, who earlier this year led his Bharatiya Janata Party to India’s biggest electoral mandate in three decades, has shown no signs of bitterness over his past treatment by the United States and has called for the world’s two largest democracies to work closely together.
“India and the US have a fundamental stake in each other’s success — for the sake of our values and our many shared interests,” Modi wrote Friday in The Wall Street Journal.
“The complementary strengths of India and the US can be used for inclusive and broad-based global development to transform lives across the world,” he wrote, also calling for greater security cooperation in Asia.