A Congresssional report last month confirmed, ”if Narendra Modi were to become Prime Minister of India, he would automatically be eligible for an A-1 (diplomatic) visa as Head of State, regardless of the purpose of his visit”

U.S. President Barack Obama congratulated the people of India on concluding the ninth and final phase of their national elections on Monday, and despite a nine-year visa ban against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the likely future Prime Minster of India, Mr. Obama said that he hoped to work “closely with India’s next administration to make the coming years… transformative.”

Praising India for setting “an example for the world” in holding the largest democratic election in history and underscoring shared values of diversity and freedom, Mr. Obama added that future cooperation would be built upon the “strong friendship and comprehensive partnership over the last two decades,” which made Indian and American citizens safer and more prosperous.

The President also said that his administration was looking forward to the formation of a new government once election results were announced, the lengthiness of which process would likely depend on the number of seats garnered by the BJP and its partners within the NDA umbrella and the vagaries of alliance formation.

While observers have noted that numerous sources of friction have plagued the bilateral relationship in recent years, the Obama administration is likely to expediently address the visa ban against Mr. Modi since 2005 if he does become India’s next Prime Minister.

Although his U.S. visa at the time was revoked under an automatic U.S. ban for foreign leaders viewed as “responsible for, or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom,” in Mr. Modi’s case his alleged complicity in the 2002 Gujarat riots, a Congresssional report in April 2014 confirmed, “if Narendra Modi were to become Prime Minister of India, he would automatically be eligible for an A-1 (diplomatic) visa as Head of State, regardless of the purpose of his visit”.