Narendra Modi, the fifth Indian Prime Minister to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress in Washington DC, will deliver his speech on Wednesday, June 8. Several Indian-Americans from across the country have flown down to Capitol Hill to listen to Modi's speech. Manmohan Singh, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, PV Narasimha Rao and Rajiv Gandhi were the other prime ministers who addressed the joint session during their respective tenures.
Several Indian-Americans were excited about listening to Modi's speech at the Congressional session, but only a few managed to get tickets of the visitor's gallery of the House Chambers, the Press Trust of India reported.
Silicon Valley-based investor and entrepreneur MR Rangaswami said, "This is a speech, which I would like to watch in person. I do not want to miss it." He has come down to Washington from California to attend the joint address by Modi.
The Indian prime minister is on a diplomatic trip to the U.S., the last leg of his five-nation tour that began on Saturday. He met U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday and will conclude his visit with a reception hosted by United States House Speaker Paul Ryan. Modi will hold talks with the U.S. House Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before the reception, the Indian Express reported.
Where to listen to Modi's joint address live?
Several others who could not manage to attend the Indian prime minister's joint addres can listen to his speech live on American cable and satellite television network — Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, or C-SPAN.
The address can be live-streamed on all networks of C-SPAN, such as C-SPAN, C-SPAN 2 and C-SPAN 3. Modi's speech will start at 10:45 a.m. EDT (8:15 p.m. IST). It can also be watched on the official website of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
He will primarily focus on climate change, terrorism, defence and security cooperation, and trade and economic relationship in his speech.
The invitation to Modi to address the joint Congress session in Washington DC was extended by Ryan last month. The invitation comes as a big achievement for the 65-year-old as he will address the legislature of the country, which, during President George W Bush's administration in 2005, denied him a visa in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Although the Supreme Court gave Modi, whose government in Gujarat was accused of being involved in the massacre, a clean chit in 2010, the U.S. lifted the restrictions only when he became the prime minister of India in 2014.
However, there are people who are not happy with how the Modi government handles human rights issues, such as the lynching of one Mohammad Akhlaq in Uttar Pradesh's Dadri in September last year, in India in the last two years. A group of Indian-American Christians has decided to hold a peaceful demonstration near the Capitol when Modi will be addressing the joint Congress, New York Times reported.
"We welcomed Mr. Modi when he was elected, but he has driven the country into religious polarisation. He took an oath to protect the constitution and all the people, but he has failed to uphold it," Federation of Indian American Christian Organisations' president John Prabhudoss said.