The U.S. on Saturday remained non-committal on granting a visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has been named the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, saying there was no change in its longstanding visa policy.
Mr. Modi, denied a visa in 2005 on the ground of alleged human rights violations after the 2002 riots in Gujarat, could apply like any other applicant and have his case reviewed under American laws, said State Department spokesperson Marie Harf.
Ms. Harf was asked at a news briefing whether there was a change in U.S. policy after Mr. Modi was named the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. “As to the specific case, there’s no change in our longstanding visa policy. With regard to the Chief Minister, he is welcome to apply for a visa and await a review like any other applicant,” she said.
In 2005, Mr. Modi was denied a diplomatic visa and his existing tourist and business visa was revoked under the Immigration and Nationality Act, which makes a foreign government official responsible for severe violations of religious freedom ineligible for a travel document. Ms. Harf refused to comment on the BJP’s decision to name Mr. Modi as its prime ministerial candidate, saying it was a domestic issue.
During a recent visit to the U.S., BJP president Rajnath Singh said he would request a review of the visa ban on Mr. Modi.
Britain has warmed up to Mr. Modi with Opposition Labour party MP Barry Gardiner sending the Gujarat Chief Minister a letter last month inviting him to the House of Commons to speak on “The Future of Modern India.”