Visit likely in June if travel curbs are removed.
By Neethu M.
NEW DELHI: A three-member Republican Congressional delegation who visited India today, met the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad and invited him to the United States, despite Washington’s visa bar on him since 2005 in the aftermath of the horrific Gujarat riots.
The Gujarat Chief Minister, quite overwhelmed by the visit, tweeted, “I spoke to the USA delegation about how Gujarat has adopted a faster, inclusive & environment friendly process of development”.
The Delegation included Aaron Schock, an Illinois Republican in the House of Representatives along with Rep. Cynthia Lummis, from Wyoming and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, from Washington. A group of businessmen with the 18-member delegation included some NRIs too.
“I have been saying that the USA is the oldest democracy of the world. At the same time, India is the largest democracy on the earth. Moreover, both the countries remain committed to these principles. Our democratic ideals flow from the ideals of humanity. In today’s world, the challenges before us compel us to work together even more seriously to strengthen the Democratic principles,” Modi said in a speech on his website, endorsing the close ties between the two countries.
“We have extended an invitation to the Chief Minister Modi and requested him to show us there what he has achieved here in his state,” Schock said, after the meeting with Modi.
Schock added that it is for the US State Department to reverse its stand on granting a visitor’s visa to Modi, but he assured that they will work towards achieving it.
Schock seemed to be quite impressed by the fact that unlike some other places in India, foreign investment is welcomed in Gujarat.
Rodgers, the fourth-ranking Republican leader in the House of Representatives, reportedly said that US lawmakers would work with the Obama administration to ease travel curbs on Modi.
Salabh Kumar, an NRI businessman and a member of “Overseas Friends of BJP,” said that he expects Modi’s visit to the US as early as June.
In his welcome address, the Gujarat Chief Minister said that the visit will help to improve the understanding and relations between India and the US. Gujarat has substantial business linkage with the US, he said.
Modi added, “we have a sizeable population living there. Our coming together will have a positive impact in terms of confidence building among our people and businesses. I am grateful to the three parliamentarians for making a good beginning. We have to take this process forward. On my side, I am committed to work for the betterment of lives and relationships of the global community.”
One can dislike Modi for his staunch regional Hindutva remarks but one cannot ignore him for his leadership qualities and developmental works he has done for Gujarat. The highest-level US delegation visit, since the Gujarat riots, has left Modi in high spirits.