HindustanTimes Sat,22 Nov 2014
Modi free to apply for visa whenever he chooses: US
New Delhi, October 30, 2012
First Published: 22:01 IST(30/10/2012)
Last Updated: 22:23 IST(30/10/2012)
A file photo of Narendra Modi waving to his supporters during his month-long Vivekanand Yuva Vikas Yatra. (PTI photo)

The US, which refused visa to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi after the 2002 post-Godhra riots, on Tuesday said he was free to apply for it now and the system will take its course, a statement that comes days within the UK ended its boycott of the state.

US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia Robert Blake also maintained that his country has "very good" relations with Gujarat while noting that it was obviously a "very very important" market for American companies.

"... And in terms of Mr Modi, I do not want to speculate. He is free to apply for another visa whenever he chooses and the system will take its course," Blake said.

He was responding to a question whether the US will follow suit the UK, which recently ended a decade-long boycott of Modi following the 2002 riots.

Since the riots, the US has refused to give a visa to Modi to visit the country.

There has been intense speculation on whether the US would follow the UK after its diplomat met Modi last week, officially ending the boycott of the state.

On Modi emerging a force to reckon with, the US diplomat said he does not want to speculate on the future outcome of either the state elections or general elections.

"Those are internal matters. Of course, we will work with whoever is elected and put into office," Blake told a media channel.

To repeated questions on whether the US will work with Modi, his standard reply was that he would not speculate on the future.

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