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Apr 05, 2013 at 08:46am IST

Narendra Modi welcome to apply for visa, will decide case on merits: US

Washington: The US has reiterated that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is welcome to apply for a visa to America and that his application would be judged on its own merits. "There is no change (in US policy)...he (Modi) is welcome to apply. All visa decisions are made on a case by case basis, and I'm not going to prejudge it here," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.

Her statement came almost a week after a Republican-led US delegation visited Gujarat and invited Modi to the United States. Nuland, however, played down the visit said, "With regard to Modi, our lines have not changed here. He is welcome to apply."

"Every visa is adjudicated on the merits and in the context of US law individually," she added. "With regard to our congressional delegation that was in Gujarat, visits like this do help support a strengthening of business to business ties, of people to people ties across India, in Gujarat. So from our perspective, the more Congressional delegations that visit India and understand its dynamism and diversity, the more likely we are to continue to deepen those important ties," Nuland said.

Narendra Modi welcome to apply for visa: US

The Gujarat Chief Minister has been denied visa since 2005 by the US over his alleged role in 2002 post-Godhra riots.

The delegation, led by Republican member in House of Representatives from Illinois Aaron Schock, had called on Modi on March 29. The delegation members also invited Modi to US. Modi has been denied visa since 2005 by the US over his alleged involvement in 2002 post-Godhra riots.

(With additional information from PTI)