A delegation comprising United States parliamentarians and businessmen called on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and imvited him to the US. He has been denied visa by that country after the 2002 riots.
An 18-member delegation, led by Republican Congressmen from Illinois Aaron Schock, arrived in Gandhingar on Thursday at the official residence of Modi around noon, following their visit to Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad and held over an hour-long closed-door meeting with him and high ranking state officials.
While welcoming the US delegation, Modi spoke about the fast and inclusive, environment-friendly process of development in Gujarat, an official statement issued said. "With hard work, we have been able to create an impact in the country," Modi said.
During the interaction, Schock pointed out that the people in the US were keen to work with Gujarat and that they were impressed by the way the state has facilitated investment. As per the official press release, Schock stated that there was enormous potential to work together with Gujarat.
It may be recalled that following Modi's fourth consecutive victory in the 2012 assembly elections Schock had made a statement, congratulating Modi, on the floor of the US House of Representatives.
Modi has been denied visa by the US following the 2002 riots. However, whether the visa issue was discussed during Thursday's meeting, was not known.
The delegation is visiting India to promote 'People to People Contacts and Diplomacy' along with the Overseas Friends of BJP’s 'Global Community Overreach Programme'. This is a joint initiative by US-based National
Indian- American Public Policy Institute and India based Delhi Study Group.
Business sector representatives in the delegation has been led by Illinois-based Punjabi NRI businessman and Overseas Friends of BJP member Shalabh Kumar. Other US Parliamentarians in the delegation included Cynthia Lummis (Republican Congresswoman from Wyoming) and Cathy M Rodgers (Republican Congresswoman from Washington state).
In his address to the delegation, Modi urged the need for humanitarian forces coming together and fight terrorism along with other challenges of poverty and unemployment.
Emphasising the need to strengthen the democratic processes keeping in mind the larger good of people, Modi also talked about ideas and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi.
"Mahatma Gandhi has been and is the biggest light-house in this journey and Gujarat being the land of Gandhi believes in these principles. It has been in the forefront in nurturing such ideals and leading its people on the path of growth," he told the delegation as per the official statement.
Following the meeting, the delegation visited the Akshardham temple, a popular Swaminarayan temple in Gandhinagar. After a luncheon meeting with the Mayor of Ahmedabad Asit Vora, the delegation is scheduled to experience a ride in the Bus Rapid Transport System.
During their two-day stay in Gujrat, the US delegation is also planning to visit Tata Nano manufacturing plant in Sanand, Ahmedabad and Gujarat International Finance Tec-city.
In addition to Gujarat, the visiting delegation will visit Bangalore, Tirupati, New Delhi, Agra, Udaipur, Jaipur and Amritsar. The delegation will meet the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, senior BJP leader L K Advani and BJP president Rajnath Singh.