Washington: The United States President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a ceremonial welcome hosted for PM Modi at the South Lawns of the White House in Washington DC, USA on Thursday. PM Modi was at his best while speaking of India at the joint session of the US Congress for the second time, the only Indian Premier to do so

New Delhi: No one projects India in a more positive light abroad than Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He creates a huge buzz about what new India stands for, what it has achieved and what it is determined to achieve. The just concluded State Visit to the United States vindicates unmistakably that he is India’s best global ambassador.

Building Brand India involves a well thought out vision, meticulous and painstaking preparations and a breathtaking pace of meetings and interactions with people who matter from diverse fields. Within hours of his arrival in New York, PM Modi engaged with carefully selected business leaders, opinion makers and thought leaders including a Nobel Laureate, an academic and author, an astrophysicist, a senior vice president of the World Bank, a billionaire investor, health care experts, representatives from think-tanks and an Indian American singer, Phalguni Shah. Twitter owner Elon Musk called on him and came out saying “I am a fan of Modi”.

Transforming the centuries old Indian yoga in to a global phenomenon through International Yoga Day, participating in its celebration on the lawns of the United Nations headquarters on 21 June, flagging it as a unifying force building bridges of friendship, peace and harmony and tagging it to G-20’s theme of one world, one family and one future and highlighting the message of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam was nothing short of a master stroke by PM Modi.

Before the private dinner with President Joe Biden, PM Modi attended an event at the National Science Foundation hosted by Biden’s wife, Dr Jill Biden, where they exchanged views on skilling, training and research.

PM Modi is a smart user of symbolism. If the gift of a lab-grown green diamond to the US first lady was full of meaning, his gift to Biden—an intricately carved sandalwood box with a silver Ganesh, a diya, a tamra patra and das danam inside—was full of symbolism underlining India’s rich cultural heritage and diversity. And the gift of a copy of the book, “Ten Principal Upanishads” translated by W.B. Yeats and Purohit Swami stressed the spiritual and intellectual connect between India and the Unites States.

The credit for the entire vegetarian menu for the state banquet highlighting millet as the theme and the choice of the colours of Indian and US flags for decoration goes to US first lady Jill Biden.

PM Modi felt the MOU between GE Aerospace and HAL to coproduce GE-F414 jet engines in India was a landmark agreement, which will generate employment on both sides and will provide impetus for new bilateral defence-industrial cooperation. Many experts believe this to be as significant as the civil nuclear deal. It will boost India’s Atmanirbhar endeavours and give a technological heft to the Indian Air Force. Above all, it indicates a growing trust and confidence of the US to share cutting edge technology with India. As Biden stressed, “We are growing our defence partnership with more joint ventures, more cooperation between our defence industries and more consultations and coordination across all domains.” He acknowledged investment of Indian firms in the US and mentioned Air India’s order for 200-plus Boeing planes.

India is expected to buy 31 MQ-9B high altitude long endurance drones worth US$3.5 billion for the Indian Navy, Army and the Air Force.

American Computer Chip Maker Micron’s announcement to invest over US$850 million in an assembly and testing plant in Gujarat is another manifestation of technological cooperation. Lam Research will train 60,000 Indian engineers to accelerate India’s semiconductor education. Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw feels, it will transform India’s semiconductor landscape. Initiative for Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) under the oversight of the two NSAs, Jake Sullivan and Ajit Doval will propel multi-sectoral India-US collaborations.

The joint statement refers to the development and deployment of Open RAN system for advance telecom research, NASA-ISRO collaboration in space (Artemis accord), agreement on quantum and advanced computing, AI joint research, investment of US$650 million by the Indian firm Epsilon Carbon Ltd in green field vehicle battery component, IndusX which promotes cooperation between the defence start-ups of the two countries, service and repairs of US Navy ships and visa issues and the shared vision of India and the US working as among the closest friends and this partnership serving as the global good.

PM Modi was at his best while speaking of Brand India at the joint session of the US Congress for the second time, the only Indian Premier to do so.

While complimenting the US for embracing people from all over the world and letting them fulfill their American dream and expressing his happiness at the expansion of the Samosa Caucus, he also conveyed subtle advice to his political rivals in India, “There must be a contest of ideas at home. But we must also come together as one, when we speak for our nation.”

He silenced American critics including some legislators who question India’s democratic credentials by forcefully pointing out, “India is the mother of democracy.” He had earlier countered the journalist who had raised the issue of “violation of human rights” by saying that democracy was in India’s DNA. India has proved that democracy is better and that democracies deliver. He added that “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Viswas, Sabka Prayas” remains the guiding mantra of his government.

He recollected that when he visited the US in 2014 India was the world’s tenth largest economy but today it was the fifth largest and might become the third largest soon. He underlined that India was the only G20 country that had fulfilled its Paris Climate Summit commitments; and that it would meet its target of producing 500GW energy from renewable sources and reduce carbon intensity by half by 2030 as pledged at the Glasgow Summit.

He highlighted India’s commitment to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and underlined India’s role in producing and supplying Covid vaccines to over 100 countries s totally free.

He was unapologetic in claiming, “Today the world wants to know more and more about India. Everyone wants to understand India’s development, democracy and diversity. Everyone wants to know what India is doing… We are growing bigger but we are also growing faster; when India grows the whole world grows.”

He exhorted that there should be no ifs and buts in dealing with terrorism.

At the State Department lunch hosted by Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, PM Modi stressed on Kamala’s Indian roots and complimented her for becoming an inspiration for women around the world. He also thanked Blinken for his role in strengthening India-US strategic partnership.

At the CEOs’ meet at the Kennedy Centre with the top honchos of MNCs, it was again a hard sell of India as a destination for investment and an update on economic reforms—it’s easier now to do business was the refrain.

At the Reagan Centre in Washington, at his last function of the visit, leaders of the Indian Diaspora listened with rapt attention to PM Modi’s narrative of India’s fascinating journey in the last nine years. He heaped fulsome praise on them for their achievements in the US.

US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti gushes: “For the first time, you have not just two people at the top willing to talk about the future, two governments aligned to take action to push that future forward, but there is depth and a warmth of friendship and connection between 1.75 billion people that has never happened before. I think this is what history feels like.”