4:18 pm - Thursday January 17, 2019

Modi visa issue ‘a thing of past’: Biswal

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Nisha Desai Biswal becomes first Indian-American point person for South Asia
Nisha Desai Biswal becomes first Indian-American point person for South Asia

Now that U.S. President Barack Obama has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House, the visa issue associated with him is a thing of past, a top American official has said.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told lawmakers at a Congressional hearing on Thursday that the Obama Administration is looking forward to welcoming Mr. Modi in Washington in September.

“When the President invited Prime Minister Modi and welcomed him to come to the United States, that he did so knowing that a visa would be granted for him to be able to do that, and we look forward to that,” she said.

“I think that we have always made clear for any individual that visa issues are determined on a case-by-case basis. That is not unique to the situation with the prime minister, but we look forward to welcoming (Mr. Modi),” she said.

When Congressman George Holding pointed out that Mr. Modi was only individual ever to be denied a visa under a particular clause, Ms. Biswal said while it occurred in 2005, since then there has been no application and there has been no review or determination.

“So there has been no hypothetical basis on which to make a determination, but we have definitively said that we welcome the visit of the prime minister and therefore we don’t believe that there is any further issue to be addressed with respect to that,” Ms. Biswal said.

“The administration is very much looking ahead, looking forward and looking to the future in terms of building a very strong partnership with the Prime Minister and with his team and strengthening the relationship between the US and India. We think that we are on the path to do that,” she said.

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