The US consular general Peter Haas on visit to India has said there was no change in his country’s policy regarding granting of the visa to BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Modi’s US visa issue had bounced into a political controversy in July, 2013 when MPs belonging to 12 political parties had urged the White House through a letter "to maintain the current policy of denying Modi a visa to the United States.”
One such letter was signed by 25 Rajya Sabha members and the other by 40 Lok Sabha MPs written on November 26 and December 5, 2012 respectively and re-faxed to the White House in July.
In 2005, the US had denied Modi a diplomatic visa and revoked his existing tourist/business visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act in the wake of Gujarat communal riots when he was the chief minister of the state.
Talking to media persons on Monday evening, , Haas, who is in the city on a two-day visit to the region, said, “We have not changed our policy on the issue of grant of visa to Modi.”
While denying the visa in 2005, the US government had said that the visa would not be granted because of the very serious doubts that remain and surround Modi over his role in the horrific events of 2002 in Gujarat.
The US official informed that about eight lakh Indians had applied for visa to visit USA and about seven lakh were granted visa including a large number of students last year.
Answering a question, Haas said that the global economic recession would have no impact on the Indo-US trade ties. It is the US which is suffering from the recession, he said.
Hass had earlier visited the coveted Multi-Modal Passenger and Cargo Hub (MIHAN) near the airport and had interaction with travel and tour agents. He said MIHAN would be completed soon and may be launched in December.
He visited Deekshabhoomi — the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar memorial in the city — and paid floral tributes to the departed Dalit leader. He was impressed with the historic monument and also sat under the “Bodhi” tree which is believed to be of the same kind where Siddartha got enlightenment and became Lord Buddha, an official of the Memorial explained to him.