US President Obama, India's PM Modi to meet next month in Washington: White House

US President Barack Obama with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House on March 31 in Washington, DC.
US President Barack Obama with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House on March 31 in Washington, DC. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - United States President Barack Obama will meet India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House next month to discuss security and other issues when the prime minister visits Washington, the White House said on Friday (May 20).

In a statement, the White House said Mr Obama and Mr Modi will discuss economic growth, climate change, clean energy, and security and defense cooperation during the meeting on June 7, which follows Mr Obama's trip to New Delhi in January 2015.

"The visit will highlight the deepening of the US-India relationship in key areas," the statement said. The two countries' partnership is seen as critical in Washington, which is seeking to counterbalance China's increasing power.

US House Speaker Paul Ryan has also invited Mr Modi to address a joint meeting of Congress during his Washington visit, an opportunity extended to few foreign leaders.

In 2005, then US President George W. Bush's administration denied Mr Modi a visa citing a 1998 US law barring entry to foreigners who have committed "particularly severe violations of religious freedom".

More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed sectarian riots in Gujarat in 2002 when Mr Modi had just become the state's chief minister. He has denied any wrongdoing, and India's Supreme Court in 2010 ruled there was no case.

Mr Obama, who has adopted a "pivot to Asia" strategy, quickly dismissed the issue by inviting Mr Modi to the White House when he called to congratulate him on winning India's 2014 election.