New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is preparing to visit the United States where he will meet with US President Barack Obama. During his five-day visit, India's nationalist leader will also have close to 50 engagements, including meetings with officials from several US business giants, like Goldman Sachs, Google, General Electric, Pepsico, MasterCard, and Blackrock.
For Modi, this is return trip to America, at the White House's invitation, after being persona non-grate for years. In 2005, the United States had revoked his visa for "severe violations of religious freedom" under the US International Religious Freedom Act.
At that time, the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was chief minister in Gujarat and was blamed for the violence that broke out between Hindus and Muslims in 2002.
After his election as prime minister of India, pundits began to ask questions about US attitudes. On 11 July, Obama responded to those questions and extended a formal invitation to Modi to visit the United States in September. He also invited the Indian premier to "work together" to turn the US-India relationship into a "significant partnership" for the 21st century.
The first leg of Modi's trip will start in New York. Here on Saturday, the Indian prime minister will visit the 9/11 Memorial, and then address the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The next day, he is scheduled to address some 20,000 Indian-Americans at the Madison Square garden.
On Monday, he will travel to Washington, where he will meet the CEOs of various US companies like Google, Carlyle Group, Cargill, Citigroup, Caterpillar, MasterCard, Merck & Co. and Pepsico. On the same day, he is expected to meet other six CEOs individually, those of Goldman Sachs, General Electric, Boeing, IBM and BlackRock.
Obama will host a private dinner for Modi at the White House on Monday. Since Modi will be fasting for Navratri (a festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity Durga), the Indian government has already indicated Modi's dietary (vegetarian) preferences to US authorities.
Ahead of his main summit meet at the White House on Tuesday, Modi will visit the Martin Luther King Memorial and Lincoln Memorial in Washington and place a floral wreath at Mahatma Gandhi's statue in front of the Indian embassy.
The highlight of the trip will be the summit with US President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Modi will raise the issue of increased trade and investment between the two countries, as well as issues relating to defence, maritime security, science and technology.
On Monday, the recently formed Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA) announced that it would show black flags to Modi when he heads to the Madison Square Garden in mid-town Manhattan in New York on Sunday.
The Sikh for Justice announced that it would convene a "Citizens' Court" to "indict" Modi at a park in front of the White House on Tuesday, for his role in Gujarat massacre.
Modi's trip to the United States is his third high-level meeting with foreign leaders.
The first was with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; the second was with Chinese President Xi Jinping. In both cases, the Indian prime minister signed economic deals worth billions of dollars.