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No change in US policy on Modi visa issue

world Updated: Dec 04, 2013 01:22 IST
Yashwant Raj
Narendra Modi

If Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi applies for a US visa today, he may get turned down as before. But it may be a different story if he were to become prime minister.

US state department’s new Central and South Asia head Nisha D Biswal said on Tuesday that members of the national government are entitled to a different category of visa, called A-1. “Depending on the official and the capacity in which they are visiting a determination is made what kind of visa they are going to get,” Biswal said at a news briefing.

She didn’t explain if rules that applied to the usual tourist/business visas remained the same for A-1 visas. If they did, Modi’s promotion may not make any difference.

Referring to the coming general elections in India, Biswal said, “The United States looks forward to working in close partnership with India whatever the outcome of that elect process will be in terms the next government that comes into place.”

The US denied Modi a visa for foreign officials — A-1 — in March 2005 and revoked his tourist/business visa issued to him earlier, over the Gujarat riots of 2002.

A US official had then said diplomatic visa was denied to him — under 214 (b) of Immigration and Nationality Act — as he was not coming for a “purpose that qualify for a diplomatic visa”.