Modi may visit San Francisco in September
Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to travel to San Francisco in the last week of September after attending the 70th annual session of UN General Assembly in New York, becoming the fourth Indian Premier to visit US’ West Coast.
Modi’s proposed visit to San Francisco would also revive — after a gap of four decades with the exception of the former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao in 1994 — the post-independence tradition of Indian prime ministers visiting the US cities other than New York or Washington DC.
The thriving Indian Diaspora in the US, in particular those on the West Coast and the Silicon Valley has welcomed Modi’s decision to visit San Francisco and preparations are in full swing to accord a grand welcome to him at the SAP Center in San Jose.
According to official record maintained by the State Department, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, in 1949, and Morarji Desai, in 1978 – are the two Indian prime ministers to have visited San Francisco so far.
Though its surrounding cities are better known as the Silicon Valley, San Francisco has had a major role in India’s freedom struggle a sit was the headquarters of the Gadar Party, which played an important role in the quest for freedom.
Nehru, who made four official trips to the US in 1949, 1956, 1960 and 1961 – some of which lasted for as long as three weeks – has the distinction of being the most travelled Indian Prime Minister in the United States.
As prime minister, Indira Gandhi made three official visits to the US in 1966, 1971 and 1982.
In June 1978, Morarji Desai became the second Indian prime minister to visit San Francisco.
On an official visit to the country, in addition to Washington DC, he also travelled to New York and Omaha. His visit lasted for a week.
As prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi made three official trips to the US – twice in 1985 (one in June and other one in October) and in 1987. Narasimha Rao visited the US twice – in 1992 and 1994.
It was in 1994 that he travelled to Houston and Boston – the last time an Indian Prime Minister visited outside of New York and Washington DC.
Inder Kumar Gujaral made his maiden trip to the US in 1997, while Atal Bihari Vajpayee as prime minister made four official trips to the US – 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Modi’s predecessor Manmohan Singh has the distinction of making maximum number of official US trips as the prime minister of India – 2004, 2005, twice each in 2008 and 2009 and then in 2010 and 2013.
In 2009, Singh travelled to Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania to attend the G-20 Economic Summit.