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US consul general skirts question on visa to Modi

March 20, 2012 17:41 IST
United States Consul General Peter Haas on Tuesday skirted question on granting of visa to Gujarat Chief minister Narendra Modi, saying that they "do not comment on personal visa matters".

Haas was in Ahmedabad to participate in a graduation ceremony by Self-Employed Women's Association for a group of women leaders from Kyrgyzstan.

"Its a long-standing US policy... we do not comment on private visa matters," Haas said when asked if there was any change in the US policy with regard to granting of visa to Modi that was denied to him in 2005 in the wake of post-Godhra communal riots.

Modi's visa was revoked just two days before his travel to the US in March 2005.

Modi had alleged at that time that revoking of his visa, amounted to an "insult" to India and reflected Washington's effort to show the country in poor light.

Meanwhile, talking about relations between US and Gujarat, Haas said that there was good cooperation and many American companies have set up plant in the state.  The relationship of US with Gujarat can be judged on the basis that Gujarati was the first Indian regional language to be included in the US census, he said.

Talking about the programme that he was participating in, Haas said, "This program is another example of how the US and India can work together to strengthen regional economic cooperation."

The 10-day programme was funded by the US department of state's office of global women's issues under which 11 women from Kyrgyzstan which included one professor and two government officials learnt the way women from SEWA had organised themselves.

Haas said that the US Secretary Hillary Clinton had last week told them that promoting women's empowerment was central to the US foreign policy.

SEWA director Reema Nanavaty said that the key objective of this programme was to help the Kyrgyzstan women learn from SEWA women's experience and replicate the methods of organising women in their own country.

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