Indian Premier Modi hails "indispensable" partnership with US

The United States is an "indispensable partner" in India's rapid economic growth and efforts to relieve poverty, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Wednesday in an address to a joint session of the US Congress.

The speech to members of both chambers caps his three-day visit in Washington. Relations between the world's two most populous democracies have warmed in recent years amid US President Barack Obama's policy of a US "pivot" to Asia.

"Many of you also believe that a stronger and more prosperous India is in America's interest," Modi told legislators. "Let us work together to turn shared ideals into practical cooperation."

India, which has recently topped China to become the fastest growing major economy, is an important market for US companies, while US technology is helping India develop, he said. The United States is already India's biggest export market.

Indian growth "is creating a new opportunity for our mutual prosperity," Modi said. "Transformative American technologies in India and growing investment by Indian companies in the United States both have a positive impact on the lives of our citizens."

Modi received a long standing ovation as he entered the House of Representatives and walked through the packed chamber, and again when he was introduced by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

In a long white kurta shirt and sleeveless waistcoat - known as a Modi jacket because he wears it so often - the premier replied to the ovation with the traditional Indian greeting, pressing his hands together and holding them against his forehead.

Obama hosted Modi for meetings and lunch Tuesday at the White House, where they discussed climate change, nuclear policy and regional security.

Modi attended a ceremony on Monday for the return of more than 200 looted religious and cultural artefacts seized by US authorities and transferred to the Indian government.

Modi is the fifth Indian premier to address Congress, and the first since Manmohan Singh in July 2005.

Last update: Tue, 28/06/2016 - 17:25

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