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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

US should give Modi visa: US Ambassador to India

PTI  Ahmedabad, August 31, 2013
First Published: 22:36 IST(31/8/2013) | Last Updated: 22:40 IST(31/8/2013)

Former US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill, who met Narendra Modi in the state capital on Saturday, said the US should grant visa to the Gujarat chief minister.


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"He (Modi) is a prominent political thinker in India. And, I don't believe United States is in a position, thousands of miles away, to have a magisterial opinion about what happens here in India....That's upto the Indians...," Blackwill said when asked by the reporters about US's denial of visa to Modi.

"So, my own view is that he should be issued a visa, if and when he wishes to visit United States...," Blackwill, who served as US ambassador in the country during 2001-03, said.

Blackwill is now a senior fellow of US Council on Foreign Relations and a lobbyist.

In 2005, the US denied Modi a diplomatic visa and revoked his existing tourist/business visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act, which makes a foreign government official who is responsible for particularly severe violations of religious freedom ineligible for an American visa.

The denial was for Modi's alleged role in the the 2002 riots.

Blackwill had a 45-minute one-to-one discussion with Modi on Saturday.

He is leading a US trade delegation, which also met the chief minister and held discussion about expanding the scope of American companies' economic-industrial partnership and investment in Gujarat, a press statement issued by the Gujarat government's information department said.

Blackwill, who has been invited to participate in the Vibrant Gujarat Agro High-tech Global Summit on September 9-10, expressed US's keenness to take part in the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' Summit-2015.

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