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Modi visa application to be handled as per law: Burns

By Lalit K Jha
October 27, 2012 09:35 IST
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The United States would handle the visa application of the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as per the country's immigration laws, a top US diplomat said.

At the same time, the official said, US supports the business interests of American companies in Gujarat.

"Well, I mean, the question has often arisen about, Mr Modi's potential application for visas, for example, to come to the US. And you know, the truth is I can't comment on individual visa applications. You know, those get handled, according to US immigration law at the time there's an application," the Deputy Secretary of State, William Burns said.

Burns was responding to questions if there has been change in the US policy towards the Gujarat Chief Minister in view of the change in policy of the British government in this regard from a human rights activist at the Center for American Progress, an eminent US-think-tank based in Washington.

"About 10 years ago some major violence in Gujarat. We were there on the ground at the time, documented 2,500 deaths in Gujarat. The British government has just decided that it will now end Â…the cold-shoulder policy with Narendra Modi, the (Chief) Minister of Gujarat State. Is it still US policy, and will it remain US policy for the time being, to maintain its cold-shoulder policy with respect to Mr. Modi?" John Sifton, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch asked.

"With regard to Gujarat in general, you know, obviously, to, you know, come back to the question about business activity, a lot of American businesses have interests there. We continue to support that. Obviously, there are a lot of Indian-Americans who come from Gujarat too. So there's a strong connection. But I don't have anything new to suggest with regard to personalities," Burns said.

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Lalit K Jha in Washington
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