News / Asia

US Ends Boycott of Indian Opposition Leader

Chief Minister of the western Indian state of Gujarat and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi (R) presents a bouquet of flowers to US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell (L) as they meet in Gandhinagar in western Gujarat st
Chief Minister of the western Indian state of Gujarat and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi (R) presents a bouquet of flowers to US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell (L) as they meet in Gandhinagar in western Gujarat st
Anjana Pasricha
The U.S. Ambassador to India has met Indian opposition leader Narendra Modi, ending a near decade-long boycott of the man who is the frontrunner to be India’s next prime minister. The Hindu nationalist leader was denied a U.S. visa in 2005 over his role in sectarian violence which swept his state in 2002.
 
Television pictures showed U.S. Ambassador to India Nancy Powell and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Narendra Modi exchanging a cordial handshake before they sat down for discussions Thursday in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat state headed by the Indian opposition leader.
 
Political analysts said the handshake was prompted by the possibility that Modi could head India’s next government. He is the prime ministerial candidate of the opposition B.J.P., which polls show could dislodge the Congress party in upcoming national elections, to be held by May.
 
The U.S. was among several countries which shunned the B.J.P. leader over allegations that he did not do enough to stop riots which swept through Gujarat in 2002 and killed nearly 1,000 people, mostly Muslims.
 
Modi denies the accusations. The Supreme Court has found no evidence to prosecute him.    
 
As he grew in prominence on India’s national political stage in the last year, other countries and international bodies, including the European Union and Australia, restored ties with him. 
 
Former Indian ambassador to the United States Lalit Mansingh said the U.S. was bound to follow suit. 
  
“It would be quite embarrassing for the Americans not to recognize a democratically elected leader. One is not saying whether he will be elected or not, but it would lead to a peculiar situation, which I think the Americans were keen to avoid,” said Mansingh.
 
The U.S. revoked Modi’s visa in 2005 under a domestic law that bars foreign officials responsible for "severe violations of religious freedom.”
 
The thorny visa issue was apparently not discussed, but political analysts said the meeting signals that the U.S. would be willing to issue one.
 
The U.S. embassy did not comment. It called the meeting part of its outreach to senior leaders of India’s major political parties in advance of the upcoming elections. The embassy also pointed out that Ambassador Nancy Powell continues to emphasize that the U.S.-India partnership is important and strategic.
 
Political analysts think the long boycott of Modi by the U.S. is unlikely to damage ties between the two countries if the BJP were to come to power.
 
Mansingh pointed out that Modi has strong support from many people from his Gujarat state living in the United States, who want to see a strong relationship.
 
“The B.J.P. of all parties has a pretty strong network abroad, particularly in the United States, and there is a large thriving Gujarati community in the U.S., I take it most of them are B.J.P. supporters, so I don’t think this will have any impact on bilateral ties,” said Mansingh.  
 
Throughout his election campaign, Modi has drawn huge crowds. He has sought to portray himself as a strong leader who can make India more economically vibrant and provide good governance in a country fed up with the many corruption scandals that have marred the Congress party-led government.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid