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'No change in US visa policy, but Modi welcome to apply'

Washington, July 25, 2013 (IANS) 9:38 IST
PTI file image
Even as the visiting BJP president Rajnath Singh denied he had come to get Gujarat chief minister, Narendra Modi a US visa, the State Department said its policy had not changed.

"Well, our policy on this has not changed," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday in response to a question.

"If Chief Minister Modi applies for a visa, his application will be considered to determine whether he qualifies for a visa in accordance with US immigration law and policy," she said.

"But as you know, we don't talk about the specifics of that process or individual cases. But he would, of course, be considered if he were to apply," Psaki assured.

Modi, who was denied a US visa in 2005 for his alleged role or inaction in the 2002 Godhra anti-Muslim riots, never applied again for a US visa even as corporate America of late has been warming up to his "vibrant Gujarat".

Three Republican lawmakers who met Modi recently in Gandhinagar along with a US business delegation had also promised to take up the issue with the Obama administration.

Asked what would happen in case Modi became Prime Minister after the upcoming parliamentary elections, Psaki said: "Well, that's a lot of speculation down the road."

"We always encourage democratic elections and we don't take sides, and we'll be watching it closely."

When the reporter repeated the question, the spokesperson again responded:
"Well, I think I just said that we will consider his application if he applies. And we're not going to get ahead of where we are at this time."

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