The US today made it clear that there was “no change” in its stand of not granting visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, but said he was welcome to apply and the case would be reviewed on 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 pre-judge it here,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters here.

Responding to questions on the invitation extended to Modi by a delegation of US lawmakers last week, Nuland said there is no change in US policy.

“With regard to Mr Modi, our lines have not changed here. He is welcome to apply,” she said.

“Every visa is adjudicated on the merits and in the context of US law individually,” Nuland said when asked if the State Department will issue a visa to an individual when invited by a Congressman or a group of lawmakers.

“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,” she said.

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 the issue of 2002 post-Godhra riots.

(This article was published on April 5, 2013)
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