Biswal, whose parents emigrated from Dahod in Gujarat, said Obama saw the Indian election in a very positive light and looked forward to welcoming Modi in Washington at the earliest opportunity. Kerry too is keen to travel to India.
"We have stated quite definitely that he will be welcomed here. That he will travel on A1 visa as a head of State, which is the appropriate category for all heads of State when they travel to the US," Biswal said. "We are eager to engage but we also don't want to overwhelm the new government with our priorities and dates," she said. Although it's Washington's turn to hold the annual India-US strategic dialogue this summer, Biswal indicated that it was open to new dates and venues. "We are waiting to hear from new government about their preference," she added. Challenging doubts in some quarters about the future of India-US relationship, she said, "To say this is not a strategic relationship is categorically false; it is one in every way."
Biswal also saw Modi's invitations to the leaders of South Asian countries, including Pakistan, to attend his swearing-in ceremony as "a strong and positive signal". "I certainly think that having the regional leaders come is a strong and positive signal. Beyond that I think, it is really for India and its neighbors to react and respond to," she said. Meanwhile, at a symposium organised by US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) on Capitol Hill, Biswal again declared: "It is indeed a time for us to be looking forward and looking ahead." Several lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, including Republican chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce, also expressed keenness to engage India.