Biden, Modi to hold White House press conference

U.S. President Joe Biden and visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver remarks and take questions from journalists on Thursday during the Indian leader's state visit.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi listens during a visit to the National Science Foundation with U.S. First Lady Jill Biden (not pictured) in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., June 21, 2023.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi listens during a visit to the National Science Foundation with U.S. First Lady Jill Biden (not pictured) in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., June 21, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

By Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden and visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver remarks and take questions from journalists on Thursday during the Indian leader's state visit, an event a senior White House official called a "big deal"

It is unusual for Modi to take questions from the media, beyond occasional interviews. He has not addressed a single press conference in India since becoming prime minister about nine years ago. In May 2019 he attended a press conference but never took questions.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said the White House understands the press conference is a "big deal."

"We are just grateful that Prime Minister Modi is participating in a press event at the end of the visit," Kirby said. "We think that's important and we're glad he thinks that's important too."

The format of the press conference will include one question from the U.S. press and one from an Indian journalist, Kirby said.

White House press conferences with other world leaders have been tightly controlled, with U.S. officials designating reporters beforehand from the American and foreign media for Biden and his guest to call upon, and a very limited number of questions.

Modi has been to the United States five times since becoming prime minister in 2014, but the trip will be his first with the full diplomatic status of a state visit.

(Reporting by Katharine Jackson, Steve Holland and Kanishka Singh; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Heather Timmons and Grant McCool)

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