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”Modi’s potential visa request to be handled as per US laws”

Washington: Against the backdrop of Britain warming up to Narendra Modi after boycotting him for 10 years, the US has said it would handle the Gujarat Chief Minister's potential visa application as per its immigration laws.

At the same time, US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said, the United States supports the business interests of American companies in Gujarat.

"Well, I mean, the question has often arisen about Mr Modi's potential application for visas, for example, to come to the United States. And you know, the truth is I can't comment on individual visa applications."

"You know, those get handled, according to US immigration law at the time there's an application," Burns said yesterday.

He was responding to questions if there has been a change in the US stance on the Gujarat Chief Minister, to whom it has been denying visa, in view of the shift in policy of the British government towards Modi.

John Sifton, the Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, had asked Burns "Is it still US policy, and will it remain US policy for the time being, to maintain its cold-shoulder policy with respect to Mr Modi?"

Burns replied: "With regard to Gujarat in general, you know, obviously, to, you know, come back to the question about business activity, a lot of American businesses have interests there. We continue to support that. Obviously, there are a lot of Indian-Americans who come from Gujarat too. So there's a strong connection. But I don't have anything new to suggest with regard to personalities."

On October 11, Britain, ending a 10-year boycott of Modi imposed after the 2002 riots, had announced that it had decided to resume engagement with Gujarat. Britain's envoy to India James Bevan also met Modi recently.

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