WASHINGTON, May 26 (Xinhua) — U.S. President Barack Obama congratulated Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his new government on their swearing-in, the White House said on Monday.
The U.S. looked forward to working closely together with the new government to continue to strengthen and expand the U.S.-India strategic partnership for years to come, White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
Modi, the 63-year-old Hindu nationalist leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, was sworn in Monday in as India’s new prime minister. The inauguration ceremony was attended by his counterpart from arch-rival Pakistan, along with heads of state of other South Asian nations. Some 44 ministers were also sworn in along with Modi.
“India and the United States share a deep bond and commitment to promoting economic opportunity, freedom, and security for our people and around the world,” Carney said.
In a phone conversation with Modi ten days ago, Obama invited him to visit Washington “at a mutually agreeable time” to further strengthen bilateral relationship.
Modi was denied a visa in 2005 by Washington for his alleged role in the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002, in which over 1,000 people, mostly minority Muslims, were killed.
In February, the outgoing U.S. Ambassador to India Nancy Powell visited Modi at his home in Gujarat, apparently seeking an end to the estrangement.
In March, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian affairs Nisha Biswal said the United States was ready to do business with Modi “if he becomes the next Indian prime minister.”