Top Australian leader to meet Modi today

A top Australian leader will meet BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, signifying increased acceptability of the saffron leader Down Under that became India’s strategic partner four years ago.

Barry O’Farrel, premier of New South Wales is scheduled to meet the Gujarat chief minister in his office on a day when the last round of polling in five state Assembly elections will take place in Delhi. In the run up to the Assembly polls, the BJP announced Modi as the party’s prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

“Political leaders are judged by their performance in the office. Modi has a pro-business image and stewarded Gujarat towards high economic growth. I am looking forward to the meeting with him,” O’Farrel, who governs Australia’s largest provincial economy, told Deccan Herald.

Asked about Modi’s controversial past including his alleged role in 2002 communal riots, the Australian leader indicated it was the pro-business and able-administrator image of Modi that would be of interest to him rather than his past. O’Farrel will examine a TCS project in Gujarat administration to improve the efficiency in back-office services.

In the past, the UK, Germany and other European countries as well as the USA boycotted Modi, particularly due to his controversial role during the 2002 riot in Gujarat. He was even denied entry to the US in 2005, with Washington citing provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act that barred visas for foreign officials responsible for serious violations of religious freedom.

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