September 25, 2014

U.S. eager to forget about new India premier's 2005 visa denial

By Richard Fontaine

Source: The Los Angeles Times

Journalist(s) Paul Richter, SHASHANK BENGALI

When President Obama hosts new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for dinner at the White House next week, the leaders will have a long list of issues to discuss: trade disagreements, China's rise, nuclear policy and counter-terrorism, among others.

One awkward topic neither is expected to raise is that until recently, Modi was barred from setting foot in the United States.

In 2005, Modi, an ardent Hindu nationalist and rising political star, was denied a U.S. visa over accusations that he failed to stop religious pogroms in which hundreds were killed, mostly Muslims, in the Indian state where he was serving as chief executive. That decision to bar him now seems like ancient history in both countries.

Putting the charges of sectarianism behind him, Modi led his conservative party to a resounding victory in spring national elections. One of the first world leaders to congratulate him was Obama, who quickly extended an invitation to Washington.

Buffeted by crises elsewhere in the world, the White House is eager for its relationship with Modi to start on a good note. The Obama administration has sidestepped the visa controversy in the hope of revitalizing the U.S.-Indian relationship, which has been marred by a series of trade and diplomatic quarrels.

Read the full article at The Los Angeles Times

  • Richard Fontaine

    President

    Richard Fontaine is the President of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). He served as a Senior Advisor and Senior Fellow at CNAS from 2009-2012 and previously as fo...