PM’s Upcoming State Visit to the US: An Unprecedented Honour

In an extraordinary show of recognition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to embark on a momentous state visit to the United States on June 22. This exclusive invitation from President Joe Biden makes Modi only the third world leader, following in the footsteps of France’s Emmanuel Macron and South Korea’s Yoon Suk Yeol, to be granted such an esteemed opportunity.

State visits, synonymous with rare grandeur and exceptional prestige, are typically reserved for the closest of allies. The invitation extended to Prime Minister Modi underscores the profound and intimate partnership between the United States and India, affirming their deep-rooted ties.

This landmark visit holds particular significance as it marks Modi’s inaugural state visit to the US throughout his illustrious nine-year tenure as Prime Minister. Notably, the last Indian Prime Minister to partake in a state visit to the United States was Dr Manmohan Singh back in November 2009.

Distinguishing this forthcoming visit from Modi’s prior trips to the US is paramount. In the past, his visits were classified as working visits, working lunches, and official working visits, with his 2019 appearance characterised by the US Department of State as participation in a rally in Houston, Texas. The elevation of Modi’s visit to a state level attests to the significance the Biden administration places on cementing robust alliances in countering China’s influence within the Indo-Pacific region.

The ceremonial nature of a state visit, replete with pomp, grandeur, and meticulous protocol, illustrates the pinnacle of friendly bilateral relations. Only the most esteemed guests are invited to the head of the state’s official residence, making it an exclusive privilege reserved solely for close allies.

According to US diplomatic policy, each nation’s leader can be hosted for a state visit only once every four years, further emphasising the exceptional nature of this invitation. With meticulous preparations underway at the White House, the stage is being set to welcome Modi with the utmost reverence.

A state visit encompasses a plethora of traditional ceremonies, including the distinguished flight line ceremony, where the visiting head of state is warmly received upon landing. The arrival at the White House is greeted with a resounding 21-gun salute, followed by an exquisite White House dinner and the exchange of diplomatic gifts. As a testament to the extraordinary bond, the Indian Prime Minister will have the privilege of staying at the US President’s guesthouse just across Pennsylvania Avenue. Additionally, the streets will be adorned with flags, encapsulating the magnificence of the occasion.

While typically only the head of state is invited on a state visit, parliamentary democracies extend this honour to the head of government due to the ceremonial nature of their respective heads of state. President Biden will be joined by esteemed members of the American political elite, including Cabinet members and Congressional leaders, further amplifying the significance of the visit.

Traditionally, state dinners have been hosted within the opulent State Dining Room of the White House. However, recent presidents have opted for hosting these esteemed events on the sprawling White House lawns, accommodating a more extensive guest list and enhancing the grandeur. These remarkable occasions can accommodate anywhere between 100 to 120 guests, ensuring a truly memorable experience.

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