Rice avoids comment on Modi visa

October 5th, 2008 - 12:29 am ICT by IANS  

Narendra ModiNew Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was tactfully silent Saturday when Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani raised the issue of a US visa being denied to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, a source in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said.”The issue of the visa for Modi was brought up during the meeting between Rice and Advani,” the source told IANS, not wishing to be named.

“We pressed for a US visa for Modi as he is the elected representative of the people of Gujarat. Rice, however, did not comment on the issue,” the source added.

The US had previously denied a visa to Modi in 2005 citing charges of biased handling of communal violence in the state in 2002 and human rights violations.

While Modi, a popular BJP leader, was invited to the World Gujarati Conference in New Jersey in August, he addressed the gathering using the video-conferencing facility. He has insisted that he has not applied again for a US visa.

Meanwhile, Rice, on a day-long India visit, met Advani, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, and held talks on a wide range of bilateral issues, including the India-US nulcear deal.

Though Advani expressed the BJP’s reservations on some aspects of the nuclear deal, he assued Rice that his party favours deepning the engagement between the two countries.

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