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US signals end of Modi boycott; Powell to meet him on Thursday

US signals end of Modi boycott; Powell to meet him on Thursday
Powell, reportedly, intends to discuss issues related to the upcoming Lok Sabha polls with Modi and also understand his vision for the country, sources said.

According to sources, Modi has said yes to the Ambassador’s request for meeting and they are settling for Thursday, 13 February, in all likelihood. The development marks a paradigm shift in American stand towards the BJP PM candidate, particularly since it had doggedly refused to acknowledge or engage with the leader’s growing influence because of the 2002 Gujarat riots, in addition to denying him a US visa since 2005.

Before Powell’s formal request, the US embassy officials recently held a meeting with some senior officials of Gujarat government, during which the 2002 riots issue is believed to have been discussed among other subjects. That interaction apparently set the stage for the meeting between Powell and 63-year-old Modi.

In Washington, a US State Department spokesman told mediapersons, ‘We can confirm the appointment (between Modi and Powell).’  ‘This is part of our concerted outreach to senior political and business leaders which began in November to highlight the US-India relationship’, the spokesperson said.

The go-ahead, just before the announcement of general elections in a few weeks, seems to have been taken after intensive debate within the various wings of the Obama administration, the White House and the State Department in particular, with crucial inputs from the members of the Congress, and the influential leaders of the corporate sector, the US India Business Council in particular.

In 2005, Modi was denied a diplomatic visa by the US and his existing tourist and business visa was revoked under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
M Post Bureau

M Post Bureau

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