Indian Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, describes the forthcoming state visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US as an unprecedented and ground breaking event

Sandhu emphasizes that the visit will be significant both in terms of substantial outcomes and ceremonial aspects, highlighting its historical significance. “This is indeed a historic and path-breaking visit. I use these terminologies by fully looking into them. You will see both on the substantive side and on the ceremonial side, that it will be history," Sandhu told ANI.

The upcoming agenda during the Prime Minister's visit to the US will encompass five broad areas, prominently including defence and strategic cooperation, which will receive appropriate attention. Additionally, the discussions will revolve around healthcare partnerships, various aspects of technology including digital startups and innovation, environmental concerns, renewable energy, and lastly, knowledge and education.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden have extended an invitation to Prime Minister Modi for an official state visit, including a State Dinner scheduled for June 22.

The preparations for this significant visit gathered momentum this week in both the United States and India. The second round of the iCET Dialogue, led by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Indian counterpart Ajit Doval, took place in New Delhi.

The iCET initiative, announced by President Biden and Prime Minister Modi in May 2022, aimed to enhance the strategic technology partnership and defence industrial cooperation between the two nations, encompassing government entities, businesses, and academic institutions.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported citing officials that the United States and India are expected to reach an agreement on joint manufacturing of fighter jet engines in India. Sources noted that the White House is expected to clear the proposal from General Electric Co., the Massachusetts-based aerospace manufacturing giant, to produce the engines with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. for the Tejas light-combat aircraft.

According to Sushant Singh, a senior fellow at New Delhi-based think tank Centre for Policy Research, the ties between the United States and India have strengthened despite notable differences in values and vision, mainly due to increasing concerns over China.

Singh noted that interests are currently taking precedence over those differences. The proposed jet engine agreement, which involves technology transfer from the United States, will require approval from the US Congress. India is relying on the overall positive trajectory of the bilateral relationship and bipartisan support to overcome any remaining obstacles.

During the upcoming discussions between India and the US, it is expected that they will make progress on various defence-related agreements. This includes India's potential acquisition of more than a dozen armed drones, which would significantly enhance its capabilities in sea and land defence.

Currently, India's unmanned aerial vehicles are limited to surveillance and reconnaissance purposes. In 2020, during heightened border tensions with China, India borrowed two MQ-9B drones from the US. The deal for the drones with General Atomics, based in San Diego, has faced bureaucratic challenges over the years.

Additionally, the two countries will be exploring the possibility of jointly manufacturing the Stryker, an eight-wheeled armoured personnel carrier, in India.