Modi's visa application will be considered if he applies: US

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Narendra Modi
Washington, Jul 27: Amidst raging controversy in India over visa for Narendra Modi, the US has reaffirmed that if the Gujarat Chief Minister applies for a visa, his application will be considered like any other case.

"If he (Modi) applies for a (US) visa, certainly that would be considered, as through the normal process," said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki. "As I said yesterday, if he applies, it will certainly be reviewed, just as any other application would be, but we wouldn't speak about that publicly," she added.

Psaki had made a similar statement at her daily news conference on Wednesday, noting that there has been no change in the US policy with regard to this issue. "The US does not take a decision on visa issues under pressure. No, we evaluate them case by case, and we wouldn't speak about it publicly anyway. But of course, if he applied, it would be considered," she said in response to a question.

"The Vice President just visited India, strengthening the long- standing strategic and productive relationship we have with India," Psaki said. The US has reservations over granting visa to Modi because of human rights violations in 2002 post-Godhra riots under his watch as the chief minister.

The State Department's remarks came as the visiting BJP president Rajnath Singh was winding up his three-day hectic visit to Washington, during which he met a host of US lawmakers, think tanks and academicians.

Singh told the Indian-American media here that he did not raise the issue of Modi's visa with the US. He said that this is an issue for the US Government to take a call on. "This is not our issue. This is an issue for US administration," he said.

Singh further added that Modi is a "very very" popular leader of the country. The State Department's remarks also came amid controversy over the issue of 65 MPs writing to US President Barack Obama urging the US Administration to maintain the current policy of denying visa to Modi.

40 Lok Sabha and 25 Rajya Sabha MPs were reported to have written to Obama on the visa issue. BJP has demanded a probe into the matter.

PTI

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