After an overnight transit halt here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today left for his maiden visit to the US during which he will address the UN General Assembly, hold talks with President Barack Obama and meet top American corporate honchos besides a series of other engagements.
On his first leg of the high-profile five-day visit, Modi will land in New York, where he will address the 69th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) tomorrow and a rally at the famous Madison Square Garden on Sunday, which is likely to be attended by around 20,000 people from the Indian-American community.
Modi will have a summit-level meeting with Obama on September 30 and today in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, the Prime Minister described America as India's "natural global partner".
"The US is our natural global partner. India and the US embody the enduring and universal relevance of their shared values," Modi wrote.
Modi is visiting the US after being denied a visa in 2005 for his alleged role in the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat when he was the state's chief minister.
The Prime Minister will have a gruelling schedule in New York which includes a meeting with as many as 11 top corporate honchos over breakfast on September 29 apart from one-on-one meetings with six more business captains the same day.
In New York, Modi will pay a visit to the 9/11 memorial on Saturday following which he is expected to drive down to the United Nations headquarters to address the 69th annual session of the UNGA.
Obama will host a rare private dinner for Modi at the White House on September 29, so as to establish a personal relationship with the Indian leader ahead of summit talks the next day. The two leaders are meeting for the first time.
Modi will also be participating in a business meet, to be organised by the US-India Business Council (USIBC), expected to be attended by 300-400 businessmen in Washington on September 30.
Seeking enhanced ties, in the op-ed, Modi said the complementary strengths of India and the US can be used for inclusive and broad-based global development to transform lives across the world.
"This is a moment of flux in the global order. I am confident in the destiny of our two nations, because democracy is the greatest source of renewal and, with the right conditions, offers the best opportunity for the human spirit to flourish," he said.