US won't give visa to Narendra Modi yet

In what may come as an unpleasant news for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the United States today said that its visa policy on the BJP leader remains unchanged.

This comes even as the European Union and the United Kingdom have had a rethink on Modi. Last month, Modi  met the leaders of the European Union and reportedly told them that the 2002 riots in Gujarat were 'unfortunate'.

Gujarat CM Narendra Modi. AFP

Gujarat CM Narendra Modi. AFP

Speaking to CNN-IBN, US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake has said that American policy will not change as far as granting visa to the Gujarat Chief Minister is concerned.

"There is no question of changing or revising or softening. We may revise (the decision of visa to Modi) depending on Indian justice system completing cases against him only," said the US Assistant Secretary of State.

Blake further told CNN-IBN that anyone could apply for a visa to the US, but the decision to grant it would depend on many factors. According to the US Assistant Secretary of State, a judicial exoneration would be one factor in reconsidering US policy on visa to the BJP leader.

Last October, Britain, a member of the EU, had ended its decade-long boycott of Gujarat when its High Commissioner to India James Bevan met Modi to mark a "cordial beginning" to fresh ties, with the two discussing opportunities for greater economic cooperation.

EU justified ending its decade-long boycott of Modi on the ground that he has not yet been judicially arraigned for the 2002 Gujarat riots.  The EU denied that the reversal of its stand had anything to do with Modi being projected as a possible prime ministerial candidate, and said the motive was primarily economic — to scout for investment opportunities in an industry-friendly State.

Just days back, an American lawmaker had asked the US government to "support openly and fully" the vision and ideas of Chief Minister Modi, observing that because of his extraordinary leadership his state is now an economic powerhouse of the country.

"With such accomplishment, it is my sincere hope that the United States will take a new look at Gujarat and support more openly and fully the ideas of Modi as he works for the betterment of the world's economy by creating jobs at home and abroad for purposes of improving the lives of people across the globe," Congressman F N Faleomavaega said in his speech on floor of the US House of Representatives on Wednesday.

After the European Union decided to end its decade-old boycott of the Gujarat Chief Minister, it was speculated that the US administration will follow the suit and lift the travel restrictions imposed on him.

But, the USA is certainly not warming up to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader.