The U.S., which refused visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi after the 2002 Godhra riots, on Tuesday said he was free to apply for one and the system would take its course — a statement that comes days after the U.K. ended its boycott of the State.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake also maintained that his country had “very good” relations with Gujarat while noting that it was obviously a “very very important” market for American companies.

“... And in terms of Mr. Modi, I do not want to speculate… He is free to apply for another visa whenever he chooses and the system will take its course,” Mr. Blake said in response to a question whether the U.S. would follow the U.K., which recently ended the decade-long boycott of Mr. Modi.