US bends, envoy meets Modi

February 14, 2014 - 7:05:56 am

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi presents a bouquet to US Ambassador Nancy Powell in Gandhinagar yesterday.

Gandhinagar: In a clear indication that the US may be changing its stance towards Narendra Modi, whom it was treating as a political pariah, US Ambassador Nancy Powell yesterday met the Gujarat Chief Minister, who is seen as a strong contender for the prime minister’s post after the general elections.

The meeting marks a significant change in the US stance as the Bharatiya Janata Party leader was denied a visa in 2005 in the wake of the 2002 Gujarat riots.

During the meeting, Powell “held comprehensive and wide-ranging discussions with Modi covering all facets of the Indo-US relationship and cooperation, in the wider global context”, said a Gujarat government release.

Modi raised the issue of the recent diplomatic row over the hand-cuffing and strip-search of Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, and “expressed hope that a permanent solution would be found soon”. Powell “reassured that the US government was fully committed to resolving this issue at the earliest possible”.

“Modi stated that for strengthening the Indo-US Strategic partnership and realize its full potential, it is important that such irritants should not be allowed to happen,” the statement said. He also emphasised that the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attack must be quickly brought to justice. Lashkar-e-Taiba operative and Mumbai terror attack planner David Headley is in a Chicago prison and India has sought his extradition.

The US embassy in New Delhi said in a statement that the meeting “was part of the US Mission’s outreach to senior leaders of India’s major political parties in advance of the upcoming national elections”. The discussions during the hour-long meeting focused on the importance of the US-India relationship, regional security issues, human rights, and American trade and investment in India, the statement said. IANS

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