US Ambassador meets Narendra Modi, signals end of boycott, but no word on visa

Powell is the highest-ranking US official to meet Modi since Washington denied him a diplomatic visa in 2005 post 2002 communal riots.

Ahmedabad | Updated: February 14, 2014 9:17 am
pm-med Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi shake hands with US ambassador to India Nancy Powell during a meeting in Gandhinagar, on Thursday. (PTI)

 

US Ambassador Nancy Powell met Gujarat Chief Minister and the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Thursday and discussed a range of subjects, signalling the end of a nine-year boycott of Modi by Washington following the 2002 riots.

During their one-hour meeting in Gandhinagar, the two touched upon the alleged ill-treatment of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade and bringing the perpetrators of 26/11 to justice, among others. But the US visa ban on Modi was not discussed, officials said.

The meeting was significant not because of what the two talked about but because of just the fact it took place.

Powell is the highest-ranking US official to meet Modi since Washington denied him a diplomatic visa in 2005 and revoked his personal visa following the communal riots.

Powell, accompanied by the US Consul General in Mumbai, Peter Haas, met Modi and top Gujarat government officials at his official residence in Gandhinagar.

A Gujarat government statement said Modi expressed concern over “the recent ill-treatment of an Indian lady diplomat in New York” to which Powell reassured that the “US government was fully committed to resolving this issue at the earliest possible”.

Modi told Powell that “such irritants should not be allowed to happen” to strengthen the India-US strategic partnership and help it realise its full potential. Modi also reiterated the BJP’s commitment to further the US-India strategic partnership initiated when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was prime minister.

Modi also discussed Gujarat’s involvement in training Afghan officials as well as rural Afghan women for self-employment and suggested replicating Gujarat’s dairy industry to push its rural economy.

The Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), which Powell visited, has been training Afghan women to rehabilitate themselves.

Referring to 26/11, Modi said there was a need for a “single global yardstick on terrorism” and the need to “isolate terrorist groups irrespective of their base or victims”.

A US consulate statement described the meeting as “part of the US mission’s outreach to senior leaders of India’s major political parties in advance of the upcoming national elections”.

Powell also met opposition leader Shankersinh Vaghela, Gujarat Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia and Congress leader Siddharth Patel.

“She had questions on the human rights situation in Gujarat and also wanted to know the probable scenario in the event of a BJP-led NDA government or a Congress-led UPA government in the upcoming elections,” Vaghela said after the meeting.

Vaghela said he told her about the fake encounter cases and how Gujarat police officers were jailed for them. “We told them how Gujarat is lagging behind in terms of the human rights index, health and other parameters,” he said.

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  1. D
    Different View
    Feb 13, 2014 at 8:35 pm
    The US considers India a stratigic partner. Based on the early poll, there is a great chance that Modi will become the next Prime Minister of India. In that situation, the US doesn't want the relationship with India changed. So if they have to deal with Modi, they will deal with him. This is pro-activeness on their part. But don't consider it as anyone's defeat or anyone's success.
    Reply
    1. D
      Different View
      Feb 13, 2014 at 8:35 pm
      The US considers India a stratigic partner. Based on the early poll, there is a great chance that Modi will become the next Prime Minister of India. In that situation, the US doesn't want the relationship with India changed. So if they have to deal with Modi, they will deal with him. This is pro-activeness on their part. But don't consider it as anyone's defeat or anyone's success.
      Reply
      1. W
        Whatever
        Feb 13, 2014 at 5:17 pm
        According to daily telegraph modi denied meeting two time before he agreed for he third time with his choice of venue. If i recall correctly MMS or Khurshid had been begging for meeting with their counter parts and they were denied
        Reply
        1. W
          Whatever
          Feb 13, 2014 at 5:17 pm
          According to daily telegraph modi denied meeting two time before he agreed for he third time with his choice of venue. If i recall correctly MMS or Khurshid had been begging for meeting with their counter parts and they were denied
          Reply
          1. A
            Atul Sharma
            Feb 13, 2014 at 8:10 am
            Thats goog for us indeed. Lets move ahead to build a strong & better India. Atul Sharma (Middle East)
            Reply
            1. A
              Atul Sharma
              Feb 13, 2014 at 8:10 am
              Thats goog for us indeed. Lets move ahead to build a strong & better India. Atul Sharma (Middle East)
              Reply
              1. B
                BOMBAY_CITIZEN
                Feb 13, 2014 at 6:26 am
                WHY IS USA BOTHERED WITH THIS OLD UNEDUCATED CHAIWALLA ?
                Reply
                1. A
                  Amit Sood
                  Feb 13, 2014 at 6:04 am
                  Have they finally bowed to the rising sun... ?
                  Reply
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