WASHINGTON: While the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US trip has got wall-to-wall coverage back home, US media has taken note of the visit so far in a modest way – with all the big papers carrying one story each day of his sojourn in their land.
On Tuesday, the big front page stories were about the intruder which had managed to penetrate deeper into White House security than previously ascertained.
Over the weekend, USA Today, which describes itself as a national paper, did have a lead on Modi on page 1 – the only paper to do so, so far. According to observers this is not surprising – as the main summit will take only place today, which could lead to Modi garnering some space on page 1 in the big papers.
In Washington Post’s Tuesday edition, the Confederation of Indian Industry had taken out a full-page page to mark the first-ever meeting between Modi and US President. Just opposite the page, the paper carried an article with the headline, “Obama seeks Modi as ally on Asia policy”. It asserted that while the administration had laid out the red carpet, “But the specter of what many think will be left unspoken — human rights and civil society issues — hangs over the visit”.
Similarly, even The New York Times, WSJ and Washington Post had always mentioned about Modi’s past and the visa issue. The summons by the New York court on the eve of Modi’s visit were also carried as reports, with interviews with Modi’s detractors.
On the first day that he landed in New York on September 26, the wall street journal and the other US papers had all carried articles on the special dietary preference of Modi – a rather unique diplomatic challenge for the Obama administration.
While the diet story got good play because of its exoticness, the rest have gone deeper into the inside pages. On Sep 27, WSJ did an article on possible arms sale of $3 billion by US to India as result of the visit, which was in page 16. On the same day, it also had a story on the lawsuit filed against Modi for the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The glitzy Madison square garden speech – attended by 19,000 adoring Indian Americans – did get covered rather well, but again in the inside speech. On page 9 of its main section, The New York Times carried a large piece in Page 9 entitled, “At Madison Square Garden, Chants, Cheers and Roars for Modi”.
“Mr Modi is here to sell a New India, with himself as the man who can be trusted to deliver the promise. But it remains to be see whether he is willing or able to bridge India's wide differences with the US on tax policies, climate change, outsourcing, intellectual property rights and other issues,” it said.
Similarly, the WSJ covered the Madison Square Garden event on page 10, with the peg “Modi Stirs Hope Among Indians in US”.