From being snubbed to a lavish welcome: Modi's love-hate relationship with the US

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Modi's journey:'No US Visa' to 'Welcome'
After many glitches, finally it's time for one of the most awaited meetings of the year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to visit the USA after an impressive victory in this year's Lok Sabha election.

Post election, the US has reached out to Modi in an unprecedented manner. US has used terms like giving India a "special role," its willingness to be "flexible to adapt to India's defence needs," and offer of having a "special gesture date" by breaking protocol to meet PM Modi this month later this month.

But the bigger question is, what led the US to patch up with Modi after its denying him a visa in the wake of the 2002 Godhra riots?

Here's a chronology of what happened.

March 2005: The United States denied Narendra Modi an entry under the provision of Immigration and Nationality Act. The US Consular division denied him a "diplomatic visa", holding him responsible for the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 which had claimed over 2,000 lives.

November 2012: A total of 65 Indian MPs wrote letters to Obama in late 2012 against granting Modi a US visa. While one letter was signed by 25 Rajya Sabha MPs, the other was signed by 40 Lok Sabha members. The letters were written on November 26 and December 5, 2102, respectively.

December 2012: The text in the letters mentioned: "Given that legal cases against the culprits including many senior officials in Mr. Modi's administration are still pending in the court of law, any revoking of the ban at this juncture would be seen as a dismissal of the issues concerning Mr. Modi's role in the horrific massacres of 2002."

July 2013: California-based Forensic Document Examiner certified that the signatures of the lawmakers are "original and authentic" and not a cut and paste job as claimed.

Copies of the letters were provided by the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) as the current Home Minister of India Rajnath Singh reached Washington to meet US lawmakers, think tanks and US government officials. At that time, Singh said he would urge the Americans to lift the ban on visa for Modi.

Good move or bad?

The NCP welcomed the move by the MPs. "This letter is a good step. America refused Modi a visa once before because of the 2002 riots. In the same way Rajnath is bowing to America to get Modi a visa, upright MPs must come forward to oppose this request and put pressure on the US to keep men like this from entering the US," said NCP leader Tariq Anwar.

DMK president M Karunanidhi warned of action against his party leaders if they were found to have signed the letter addressed to Obama urging him to continue the visa ban on Modi. Karunanidhi said in a statement that his party never interfered in Centre's foreign policy or its internal affairs "and in the same way we don't accept DMK interfering in the visa issue."

RS members Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M) and MP Achuthan of the CPI expressed surprise saying they had not signed any such letter. They blamed it to be a cut and paste job.

August 2013: Television Journalist Nidhi Razdan was humiliated by British MP Barry Gardiner saying she did not have any respect for Indian judicial system as despite being given a clean chit by the Supreme Court of India, Nidhi was arguing about Modi's controversy and why he should not be given UK visa.

December 2013: BJP leader Arun Jaitley said that Modi should not apply for a US visa, even though a court in Gujarat has ruled that he will not be prosecuted for alleged collusion in the 2002 riots that tore through Gujarat during his first term as chief minister. He accused the US of having a 'kangaroo court'.

April 2014: During the campaigning, when the US found out that there were chances of Modi winning the elections, it gradually turned the tables. The nine-year US visa ban on Narendra Modi will automatically be lifted and he would enjoy diplomatic immunity if he becomes the prime minister, said a Congressional report.

May 2014: Obama congratulated Narendra Modi on his election victory and invited him to the White House, despite his visa ban. "The president invited Narendra Modi to visit Washington at a mutually agreeable time to further strengthen our bilateral relationship," said the White House.

With tables turned around, a new anticipation that has set in.

What will be the outcome of Modi's visit to the US? How will this partnership be beneficial to India and the world?

Let's wait and watch.

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