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Indian PM Modi invited to address US Congress


WASHINGTON: United States (US) House Speaker Paul Ryan has invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address a joint session of Congress in June, CNN reported. It is unclear whether Modi has accepted the invitation as yet.

The invitation is a sharp turnaround for a leader who was once barred from the US over massacres of Muslims.

In a statement on Thursday, Ryan called the US-India relationship “a pillar of stability in an important region of the world”.

“This address presents a special opportunity to hear from the elected leader of the world’s most populous democracy on how our two nations can work together to promote our shared values and to increase prosperity.”

The invitation comes on the heels of a report stating the US Congress will withhold a $430 million grant for the sale of F-16s to Pakistan and $742 million in military aid amid Congress concerns the F-16s will be used against India.

Modi was previously denied a diplomatic visa to the US by George W. Bush’s administration in 2005 under a law barring entry to foreigners who have committed “particularly severe violations of religious freedom” due to Modi’s suspected involvement in the 2002 riots in Gujrat state.

Modi denied any wrongdoing and India’s Supreme Court ruled in 2010 he had no case to answer.

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