Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi visited the United States of America (USA) and Egypt from 20th to 25th June 2023, during his visit, multiple initiatives and Memorandum of Understanding and bilateral talks for further development were held on the sidelines of the visit and some of the key events and initiatives are mentioned as follows.
-PM Narendra Modi Addressed Joint Sitting of the US Congress
During his visit to the United States of America (USA) from 20th to 24th June 2023, at the invitation of President of USA Joseph Robinette Biden Jr (Joe Biden) and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, PM Narendra Modi addressed the joint sitting of the US Congress.
- He has become the first Indian PM to address the joint meeting of the US Congress for the 2nd time. PM Modi previously addressed the Congress in 2016.
- During his address, he spoke about terrorism, unity in diversity in India. He also said that India would become the 3rd largest democracy soon.
He became the third Indian leader to make a state visit to USA and the only Indian PM to address a joint session of the US Congress twice.
-Boeing to invest USD 100 million in infrastructure, pilot training in India
Boeing, an Aerospace and defense manufacturer in the United States, has announced a USD 100 million investment in infrastructure and programs to train pilots in India.
- The investment was made on the backdrop of Air India signing firm orders of over 200 jets earlier from Boeing, which include 20787 Dreamliners, 10 777Xs, and 190 737 MAX narrowbody aircraft.
i.Boeing’s investment in pilot training infrastructure would increase the company’s commitment to supporting India’s aviation industry.
ii.The investments would be directed towards enhancing training facilities and programs, ensuring that the country’s future pilots receive world-class training and development opportunities.
iii.The investment aligns with PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States and his meeting with President Joe Biden.
iv.Boeing aims to contribute to India’s aviation goals and the development of a skilled workforce in the industry.
-Google, Microsoft and Amazon CEOs Decide to Invest in India
Following PM Narendra Modi’s state visit to the USA, the three US tech giants of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, have committed and announced major capital investments and technological cooperation in India for the growth of Indian technology.
i.Amazon has committed to investing an additional USD 15 billion in India over the next seven years, which will take the company’s total India investment across all businesses to USD 26 billion.
- Amazon’s CEO Andy Jassy and PM Narendra Modi discussed about supporting Indian startups, creating jobs, enabling exports, digitisation, and empowering individuals and small businesses to compete globally.
- Amazon has pledged to digitise 10 million small businesses, enable USD 20 billion in exports, and create 2 million jobs in India by 2025.
- Currently, Amazon India is on track to deliver on them, having already digitised over 6.2 million small businesses, enabled over USD 7 billion in exports, and created over 1.3 million direct and indirect jobs.
ii.Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella in his meeting with PM Narendra Modi discussed the power of technology, particularly Artificial Intelligence, to help improve the lives of Indians.
- In May 2023, Microsoft launched Jugalbandi, a new generative AI-driven chatbot on mobile devices for government assistance, in India.
- It can understand questions in multiple languages, whether spoken or typed. It retrieves information on relevant programs – usually written in English – and relays it back into the local language.
- The Jugalbandi AI assistant is powered by language models from AI4Bharat, a government-backed initiative, and reasoning models from Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service.
iii.Google is investing USD 10 billion in India’s digitisation fund and announced plans to open its global fintech operation centre in GIFT City, Gujarat.
-USA Formalizes Naval Ship Repair Deal With India’s L&T
i.To strengthen defence ties with India, the government of the USA has signed a formal framework agreement on naval ship repair with Larsen & Toubro, the Indian defense shipbuilder.
- The agreement coincides with the visit of PM Narendra Modi to the White House.
ii.L&T operates a modern shipyard at Kattupalli (north of Chennai, Tamil Nadu) on India’s Bay of Bengal coastline.
iii.The signing of a Master Ship Repair Agreement (MSRA) with Larsen & Toubro formalizes an existing arrangement between the U.S. Navy and the Indian yard.
iv.Since August 2022, 3 U.S. Navy vessels have passed through the L&T shipyard , and the MSRA opens up new opportunities for further repair stopovers, particularly for naval auxiliaries from Military Sealift Command.
-US, India to Pursue Energy Transition Goals, to Set Up Investment Platform
According to the joint statement issued by India and USA, both nations commit to set up the first multi-billion investment fund to achieve net carbon zero and clean energy transition goals.
i.Both nations’ are also committed to creating innovative investment platforms to lower the cost of capital and attract international private finance and accelerate the deployment of greenfield renewable energy, battery storage, and emerging green technology projects in India.
ii.Both nations will work together to bring down the cost of green hydrogen under India’s National Green Hydrogen Mission and the US Hydrogen Energy Earthshot.
iii.They have also intended to development of joint efforts in carbon capture, utilisation, and storage.
- The US also welcomed India’s decision to co-lead the multilateral Hydrogen Breakthrough Agenda.
U.S. to ease visas for skilled Indian workers: The US government is expected to make an announcement that a small number of Indians and other foreign workers with H-1B visas will be able to renew them in the US without travelling abroad.
-Gifts exchanged between PM Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden
On the State visit to the United States, PM Narendra Modi presented special gifts from India to US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.
The Ten Principal Upanishads: PM Modi gifted Joe Biden with a rare first edition print of The Ten Principal Upanishads, recognising the leader’s profound admiration for Irish poet William Butler Yeats.
- ‘The Ten Principal Upanishads’, is an English translation of the Hindu religious text by Irish poet Yeats and Shri Purohit Swami.
- Note – In 1937, WB Yeats published an English translation of the Indian Upanishads, co-authored with Shri Purohit Swami. The translation and collaboration between the two authors occurred throughout the 1930s and it was one of the final works of Yeats.
Sandalwood box: He also presented a special sandalwood box to Joe Biden that has been handcrafted by a master craftsman from Jaipur, Rajasthan. The sandalwood sourced from Mysore, Karnataka has intricately carved flora and fauna patterns.
- The box also contains the idol of Lord Ganesha, a Hindu deity considered the destroyer of obstacles and the one who is worshipped first among all gods, and its silver form has been handcrafted by a family of fifth-generation silversmiths of Kolkata.
Green Diamond: Apart from this, PM Narendra Modi gifted the Green Diamond to First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.
Features of Green Diamond gifted by PM Narendra Modi:
- The lab-grown 7.5-carat green diamond reflects earth-mined diamonds’ chemical and optical properties.
- The diamond is eco-friendly in nature, and it emits only 0.028 grams of carbon per carat and is certified by the Gemological Lab, IGI (International Gemological Institute).
- As the diamond is crafted using sustainable resources like solar and wind power, it also embodies eco-friendliness.
Antique American Book Galley & Vintage Camera:
- U.S. President Biden and First Lady Jill presented a handmade, antique American book galley from the early 20th Century as the official gift to Prime Minister Modi.
- They also reportedly gifted a vintage American camera, accompanied by an archival facsimile print of George Eastman’s Patent of the first Kodak camera, a hardcover book on American wildlife photography, and a signed, first edition copy of ‘Collected Poems of Robert Frost’.
-PM Narendra Modi’s Visit to Egypt
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Egypt for 2 days from June 24 to 25, 2023 at the invitation of Egyptian President El-Sisi and his visit marks the first bilateral visit by an Indian PM to Egypt in 26 years.
On June 24, 2023, PM Narendra Modi met Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly-led India Unit, a group of high-level Ministers constituted by El-Sisi to improve the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
-Conferred with Egypt’s highest state honour “Order of the Nile”
On June 25, 2023, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, conferred the country’s highest state honour “Order of the Nile” award on PM Narendra Modi.
About Order of the Nile:
i.Instituted in 1915, the ‘Order of the Nile’ is conferred upon Heads of states, Crown Princes, and Vice-Presidents who offer Egypt or humanity invaluable services.
ii.The ‘Order of the Nile’ is a pure gold collar consisting of three-square gold units comprising Pharaonic symbols.
- The first unit resembles the idea of protecting the state against evils, the second one resembles prosperity and happiness brought by the Nile and the third one refers to wealth and endurance.
- The three units are connected to one another by a circular gold flower decorated with turquoise and ruby.
- In the middle of the pendant, there is a protruding symbol representing the Nile that brings together the North (represented by the Papyrus) and the South (represented by the Lotus).
Note – Order of the Nile is the 13th such highest state honour that various countries across the world have conferred upon PM Modi.
-India&Egypt Signed Agreements on Strategic Partnership
On June 25, 2023, India and Egypt signed agreements on a strategic partnership as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral talks with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo (Egypt).
- The four agreements that were signed include the agreement over development in the history of the bilateral relationship.
- Three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were signed between both nations in the fields of agriculture, archaeology and antiquities, and competition law.
-Visit to Pyramids of Giza
- During his visit to Egypt, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the iconic pyramids of Giza, which is considered to be the Seven Wonders of the World.
- The Pyramid of Giza serves as the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu, the ruler under the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom. The Great Pyramid of Giza is considered to be the largest Egyptian pyramid.
- The iconic pyramids were built in the early 26th century BC over a period of 27 years. Notably, the Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Ancient World’.