After Ambassador Nancy Powell met BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at his Gandhinagar residence today, an official US statement has been published that indirectly suggests that Uncle Sam has started his preparations in full swing for a Modi led government after May. What it also means is that the visa issue will eventually become a non-issue in due course of time if he becomes the PM in the near future.
The statement goes like this:
“The United States looks forward to working closely with the government that the Indian people choose in the upcoming elections.”
A statement like that after a high-profile meet between two diplomats would have been normally seen as a general one. But when you take into account that it involved someone they had stronglyoverlooked for quite some time , indication is clear that the US are well aware of the possibility of an overall change in the wake of an improvement of BJP’s prospects of winning the general elections later this year.
According to the statement issued by the US embassy, it was only a part of the US Mission’s outreach to the senior leaders of the major political parties of India before the national elections. She is going to meet the representatives from non-governmental organisations and Indian and US businesses during her visit to Gujarat. Her discussions will be mainly focused on the importance of the US-India relationship, human rights, regional security issues, and American trade and investment in India.
America’s decision to change it’s decade-old position against Modi and take intiative to shake hands has invited sharp reactions emanating from the ruling Congress and the UPA government as External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has made some uncharitable remarks. The US mission’s outreach to Modi has naturally been seen by BJP as a kind of endorsement of what they are claiming as a “clear wave” of his victory in the Lok Sabha Polls.
With the US state department still maintaining its silent stand on the touchy issue mentioning that it has not changed its visa policy, BJP leaders are joking amongst themselves whether it would still be needed by Modi to apply for a visa. Inspite of them claiming that Modi had never applied for a visa in the past, the way US had dealt with the issue is well documented history.
It seems that the US has closely monitored the happenings in Indian politics in the recent past, and smelling the NaMo wave blowing in the whole country, a publicly announced meeting between Modi and Ambassador Powell has been setup up out of this emerging situation on the ground as they don’t want to affect their relations with India and thus, South-east Asia. It has clearly acknowledged a dramatic shift in US policy which is clearly indicative of what they think of Modi’s chances in the elections. This has certainly boosted the morale of the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate in terms of his wider acceptability. As of now, the party is not too much ecstatic about this open display of softness for its leader by the United States and they want to play safe at least for sometime in future. But, senior leaders consider this as a big leap forward for him to take the Prime position of India.
Just to remember, this draw has seen Great Britain to be faster when the untouchability policy on Modi was abandoned by them even before his winning the Gujarat assembly election as they had smelt his win beforehand. British envoy in New Delhi flew to Gandhinagar to meet Modi in October 2012. Later, David Cameron, the Prime Minister of Britain, explained his decision to officially deal with Modi.
Ambassador Powell’s meeting with Modi is definitely being celebrated by BJP and more so for the American perception that he is the man with the momentum in the next general elections.