'The Indian-American community is very excited to welcome Prime Minister Modi. He is the second prime minister to come to California after Jawaharlal Nehru, who visited the state in 1949.'
Ritu Jha/Rediff.com reports from California.
Over 40 California-based non-profit organisations attended a meeting on Sunday, July 19, to discuss Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the state in September.
The meeting was attended by Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok, India's consul general in San Francisco, with Ambassador Arun Kumar Singh, India's ambassador to the United States, making his presence via video conference.
Also present was Dr Vijay Chauthaiwale, who is in charge of the Bharatiya Janata Party's foreign relations department. He is currently visiting the San Francisco Bay area to oversee the preparations for the community reception for Modi.
Modi will visit California after attending the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 25. He will address the Indian Diaspora on September 27.
The meeting was hosted by a newly formed non-profit organisation, the Indo-American Community of West Coast USA, formed to oversee the prime minister's visit.
"The Indian-American community is very excited to welcome Prime Minister Modi. He is the second prime minister to come to California after Jawaharlal Nehru, who visited the state in 1949," entrepreneur Khanderao Kand, a director of the non-profit, said.
The reception will be held at the SAP Centre in San Jose, which can seat 18,500 people.
Asked what they would do if the number of attendees went up since California has an Indian- American population of over 500,000, Kand said just like the Madison Square Garden event in New York last September many were accommodated outside with a bigger screen, so based on the momentum, similar arrangements could be made.
Satnam Singh Chahal, executive director, North America Punjabi Association, said they discussed raising funds for Modi's visit at Sunday's meeting.
Chahal said he was happy to learn that the Amritsar International airport is set to roll out the e-visa facility, and the process of direct flights from San Jose or San Francisco to Amritsar is also in the pipeline.