Gandhinagar, March 7: A prominent US Congressman has requested the Barrack Obama Administration to begin a dialogue with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the sake of Washington's own interest in Asia. The USA's reassertion that it would not revise the stand on granting a visa to Modi in view of the 2002 Gujarat progroms has infuriated the popular leaders' supporters.
The recent development at Wharton India Economic Forum where Modi's participation through video-conferencing on March 23 was cancelled under pressure from stakeholders sparked off a massive controversy.
Eni F H Faleomavaega of the Subcommittee on Asia and Pacific who backed Modi after his recent victory in the Gujarat state polls, the third on the trot, and saw him as a possible prime minister of India, said the time has come for the US to engage with the leader. The veteran member of the US House of Representatives said the US-India relationship is a significant aspect of the 21st century and Chief Minister Modi is a leading figure.
Speaking in favour of the Gujarat CM, Faleomavaega said companies like Ford and General Motors are setting up units in Gujarat which promises to strengthen the US-India trade and investment. He also said representatives from over 120 countries attended the Vibrant Gujarat summit this year to explore business opportunities and work on strategic partnerships. It could be argued that Gujarat is now gradually emerging as a global gateway, the US leader said.
On the human rights record, Faleomavaega said what had happened in 2002 definitely called for justice, but reiterated that after probe that continued for over a decade, the apex court in India did not find any evidence against Modi. He questioned the Supreme Court's recent decision to allow a new petition to be put forward on the matter.
He said such action was politically motivated and that Washington would extend friendship to Modi, just as the United Kingdom and the European Union have done.
Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs and Joseph Y Yun, Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, were present before the Subcommittee on behalf of the Obama Administration.