Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday got an invitation to visit the US as a small delegation comprising some American Congressmen met him in Ahmedabad. The invitation is a shot in the arm for the BJP leader who has in the past been denied a visa by the US administration over his alleged involvement in 2002 Gujarat riots.
After meeting the US officials, Modi tweeted, "I spoke to the USA delegation about how Gujarat has adopted a faster, inclusive and environment friendly process of development. Am thankful to the members of USA Congress and business persons for their kind words on Gujarat's development."
The US Congressional and business delegation was represented by Republicans Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Aaron Schock and Cynthia Lummis along with some business representatives. This is the first time that US Congressmen met Modi. The team is in India till April 7 and will be visiting other cities too and meeting with government officials, MPs and business leaders.
Aaron Schock, a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Illinois, after meeting Modi said, "We are grateful to Chief Minister Narendra Modi. We learnt about the development. It is much easier to do business in Gujarat. Modi is very dynamic person. We have extend an invitation to the Chief Minister to visit USA and share his ideas with us." Another Congress member Kathy Rogers said, "We will work with the US State Department. We will be pleased to have Modi in US. we will continue to work towards making Modi's visit happen."
The 18-member delegation, led by Schock, on Thursday arrived at the official residence of Modi around noon, following their visit to Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad and held over an hour-long closed-door meeting with him and high ranking state officials. While welcoming the US delegation, Modi spoke about the fast and inclusive, environment-friendly process of development in Gujarat, an official statement issued said. "With hard work, we have been able to create an impact in the country," Modi said.
During the interaction, Schock pointed out that the people in US were keen to work with Gujarat and that they were impressed by the way the state has facilitated investment. As per the official press release Schock state that there was enormous potential to work together with Gujarat. It may be recalled that following Modi's fourth consecutive victory in the 2012 Assembly Elections Schock had made a statement, congratulating Modi, on the floor of the US House of Representatives.
Modi has been denied visa by the US following the 2002 riots. However, whether the visa issue was discussed during Thursday's meeting, was not known. The delegation is visiting India to promote 'People to People Contacts and Diplomacy' along with the Overseas Friends of BJP s (OFBJP) 'Global Community Overreach Programme'. This is a joint initiative by US based National Indian- American Public Policy Institute and India based Delhi Study Group.
Business sector representatives in the delegation has been led by Illinois-based Punjabi NRI businessman and Overseas Friends of BJP member Shalabh Kumar. Other US Parliamentarians in the delegation included Cynthia Lummis (Republican Congresswoman from Wyoming) and Cathy M Rodgers (Republican Congresswoman from Washington state).
With Additional Inputs from PTI