Guest of honour: Indian PMs in White House down the ages

Eight Indian prime ministers have visited the White House since 1949

PM Nehru meets President Truman

India's first prime minister embarked on a goodwill tour in October 1949. He met US president Harry S. Truman and the Congress and declared that India was neutral in the Cold War.

On top of Nehru's agenda was to extend newly-independent India's bilateral ties with the now-emergent superpower.

“I have come here, therefore, on a voyage of discovery of the mind and heart of America and to place before you our own mind and heart. Thus we may promote that understanding and cooperation which, I feel sure, both our countries earnestly desire,” Nehru said while trying to highlight the similarities between the two countries.

Nehru went on to visit the US a further three times -- in 1956, 1960 and 1961.

His 1956 visit provided the platform for a harmonious Indo-US relations. His 14-hour dialogue with US president Dwight Eisenhower bore rich dividends as the US administration doubled their economic aid to India. (Others)

PM Jawaharlal Nehru meets President Kennedy in 1961

President Kennedy received Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on 6 November 1961.

President Kennedy and PM Nehru made an address on the speaker's stand, inspected troops and went through a reception line after that they boarded a US Army helicopter.

The Kennedy-Nehru historic meeting, however, did not meet expectations. President Kennedy famously said about Nehru that "it was like trying to grab something in your hand, only to have it turn out to be fog."

Kennedy felt it was the “worst state visit ever”, reducing the much-awaited state visit into a mere footnote in history. (DNA)

PM Indira Gandhi with President Lyndon B. Johnson

Indira Gandhi made three official visits to the US. In 1966, Gandhi met Lyndon B. Johnson and agreed to a $300 million dollar food programme and opened channels for smooth flow of aid.

Both the premiers also agreed that India should stick to her non-alignment principles and not be forced to get involved in Vietnam.

Her sartorial sense during the 1982 trip dazzled the American media, helping break India's stereotypical image in the West. The other major breakthrough was to get the US weighing over its decision to sell military hardware to India. The Ronald Reagan administration also applauded India for trying to normalise relations with China and Pakistan. As a member of Gandhi's delegation later said: "The visit was a plus with a capital P." (Others)

PM Morarji Desai in US

Desai's sole official visit in June 1978 came amid much hoopla in the US as his victory over the Congress was thought to be a shift away from the Soviet Union bloc. But when he descended on the US, the euphoria, the political engagement all gave way to his daily quirks -- drinking a glass of his own urine every day.

(Others)

PM Rajiv Gandhi with President Ronald Reagan

Even before his arrival in June 1985, the Gandhi scion was viewed by the Americans as an attractive, pragmatic politician. And his visit didn't disappoint, with a leading US attorney calling him a "smash hit".

Gandhi's visit was a watershed moment for Indo-US ties as his western-liberal ideas helped thaw a decade-long frostiness between the two nations.

Gandhi also reiterated to US president Ronald Reagan India's close proximity to the USSR, but clearly stated that this was not to be viewed as anti-America.

In a speech during the Washington Press Club, Gandhi said that India wouldn't "be tied to the apron strings" of any superpower.

Another breakthrough during his first visit was Gandhi's endeavour to get Cray supercomputer for weather research.

Gandhi made two more visits to the US. He made his second trip merely three months after his maiden foray in October. And the other visit was in 1987. (Others)

PM Narasimha Rao meets President Clinton

Although Rao first visited the US to attend the UN Security Council meet, his lone official working visit was in May 1994.

The 1994 trip was a seminal one as Rao pushed for wider economic ties with the US. When the economically-savvy prime minister returned home, he asked all ministries to streamline business processes. He sought to end the rampant red-tapism that had hobbled India.

Addressing a joint meeting of Congress, Rao also pledged to go slow on their nuclear programme.

The other upside of the visit was that the Bill Clinton administration saw India as one of the ten major markets for trade and investment. (Others)

PM Vajpayee with President George W. Bush

Vajpayee made four visits in as many years, starting from 2000.

His 2000 trip was important as this is when Vajpayee called US and India as "natural allies". The visit, which came soon after the 1999 Kargil War, can be seen as tipping point in US' alliances with India and Pakistan.

Back in India, Vajpayee told reporters that the two nations had turned a new page in their relations, saying his visit "helped in developing a better understanding of India".

His next visit was in 2001 when the two nations to discuss a range of issues that plagued the US in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

US President George W. Bush and PM Vajpayee spoke about intelligence sharing and law enforcement cooperation. (Others)

PM Manmohan Singh meets President Bush

PM Manmohan Singh visited the US eight times demonstrating the closeness between the two countries - a fact that was underscored by signing the landmark Next Steps in Strategic Partnership.

The programme, which was planned during the Vajpayee era, strengthened Indo-US relations to an unprecedented level. President George W. Bush and PM Manmohan Singh decided to combat terrorism relentlessly, revitalise Indo-US economic dialogue, augment India's infrastructure, build closer ties in space exploration and increase trade and foreign investment.

But the highlight of the 2005 visit was the plan to develop India's civilian nuclear energy programme, which would help New Delhi achieve energy security. (Others)

PM Modi with President Obama

The current trip is PM Modi's fourth visit to the US. While his maiden trip in 2013 was to woo America, his 2014 journey was successful business-wise. America Inc pledged to pump in $45 billion into the Indian economy.

During his 2017 trip, regional security is expected to be high on agenda as Washington considers deploying up to 5,000 extra troops in Afghanistan to help local forces fighting the Taliban and other insurgent groups. (Others)

PM Modi arrives in Washington

PM Narendra Modi arrived in Washington on Sunday morning for his bilateral meeting with President Trump. This will be the Indian PM's first meeting with President Trump after he took office in January this year. (Twitter)