People in U.S. keen to work with Gujarat, says Republican Aaron Schock

In a big shot in the arm for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has been denied U.S. visa over the 2002 communal riots, a U.S. delegation led by three Republican legislators on Thursday extended an invite to him and also promised to lobby for a visa for him.

Aaron Schock, a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Illinois, who led the 24-member delegation that kicked off its India tour from Gujarat, praised Mr. Modi after a meeting.

“We are grateful to Chief Minister Narendra Modi. We learnt about development [works in the State]. It is much easier to do business in Gujarat. Modi is a very dynamic person,” Mr. Schock told journalists. “We will work with the U.S. State Department. We will be pleased to have Modi in the U.S. We will continue to work towards making Modi’s visit happen,” said another member of the delegation and U.S. representative of Congress, Cathy M. Rodgers, from Washington State.

“I am thankful to the members of the U.S. Congress and businesspersons for their kind words on Gujarat’s development,” Mr. Modi tweeted later.

“I spoke to the U.S. delegation about how Gujarat has adopted a faster, inclusive and environment-friendly process of development,” he said.

The delegation, besides Mr. Schock and Ms. Rodgers, comprised Republican Cynthia Lummis representing Wyoming. Ms. Rodgers also serves as the Chair of the House Republican Conference.

“Vast potential”

Mr. Schock pointed out that people in the U.S. were keen to work with Gujarat. There was enormous potential to work together with Gujarat, he said, according to a press release.

Praising the development model of Mr. Modi, the team termed his vision as inspirational.

This is the highest level of U.S. delegation of politicians to interact with the Chief Minister after the 2002 riots. Mr. Modi was denied a visa by the U.S. in 2005, when he was to attend the World Gujarati Meet.

Welcoming the U.S. delegation, Mr. Modi said that while America was the oldest democracy, India was the largest. Both were committed to democratic and humanitarian values. He spoke of working hand in hand for strengthening democratic values and battling problems of contemporary world.

Expressing concerns over terrorism, Mr. Modi said: “The time has come for humanitarian powers to join hands to fight terrorism.”

“Another big challenge facing the global society is poverty and unemployment. The issue of environment safety is also important as it is connected with the good of future generations.”