If Modi applies for visa, US will consider

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Washington, July 27 (IANS) Reiterating that it would consider grant of a US visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi if he applies for one, the US has said the issue has not affected India-US relations in any way.

"Well, we've stated that publicly a number of times," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters Friday when asked if the department or the US embassy in New Delhi has told Modi's party that his application would be considered.

The US does not issue visas under pressure and evaluates them case by case, she said in response to another question.

"No. We evaluate them case by case, and we wouldn't speak to it publicly anyway. But of course, if he applied it would be considered."

"Beyond that, I don't have any private diplomatic conversations to read out for you," she said when asked if visiting Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh had met any one in the State Department or if he had raised the issue here.

Rajnath Singh himself told reporters here Thursday that he would not be meeting anyone at the State department as Secretary of State John Kerry was not in town and his deputy Bill Burns had met him in New Delhi recently.

Asked about the department's reaction on the contentious visa issue, Psaki again parried saying, "Well, certainly as I said yesterday, if he applies, it will certainly be reviewed just as any application would be. But we wouldn't speak about that publicly."

Asked if the issue was affecting US-India relations in any way, Psaki said:

"Absolutely not. The Vice President (Joe Biden) was just there and we have a longstanding, strategic and productive relationship with India."

Modi, who was denied a US visa in 2005 for his alleged role or inaction during the 2002 Godhra riots, has never applied again.

But of late corporate America has been warming upto him and three Republican lawmakers who met him during a recent visit to Ahmadabad with a US business delegation had said they would take up the issue with the Obama administration.

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