If Narendra Modi becomes PM, he 'will be allowed to come to US': Scholar

Written by PTI | Washington | Updated: Sep 27 2013, 22:33pm hrs
Narendra ModiIndo-US ties will be stronger if Narendra Modi becomes PM, says US scholars.
Indo-US ties are unlikely to undergo any fundamental change and in all likelihood may further strengthen if BJP's Narendra Modi is voted to power in the polls next year, two top American scholars have said.

"I think nothing is going to fundamentally change if Mr Modi becomes Prime Minister. In fact, there is every likelihood that the relationship might even become deeper than it is today," Ashley Tellis, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told reporters during a conference call.

Tellis, who played a key role in the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, said that the transformation in bilateral ties really took place during the term of the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

"Prime Minister Singh was in many ways the beneficiary of that transformation that took place between 1998 and 2004," he said.

"I expect that if the BJP comes back into office, they will really continue that tradition, because in many ways the BJP view of the US is actually just as favourable as that held by Prime Minister Singh, if not more favourable," Tellis said.

"So I don't see any particular impediment, if there is a BJP government in office, for the bilateral relationship," Tellis said in response to a question.

Milan Vaishnav, another scholar with the Carnegie, said one of the things that the UPA government hopes to do with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit is to demonstrate implicitly the contrast between themselves and the BJP, because after all, their projected prime ministerial candidate cannot even enter this country.

"And so, by having the prime minister come and the US-India being sort of his crowning achievement, there is a kind of imagery that they're, gleefully bandying about," he said.

"The US, which as of now has maintained its status quo on its policy with regard to visa to Modi, said that this equation would change of the Gujarat Chief Minister becomes the Prime Minister next year," Vaishnav argued.

"If Modi is, in fact, the prime minister come next year, I think he will be allowed to come to the US. I think that the US will have normal bilateral relations," he said.

"I think the section of the statute under which he was denied a visa does not apply, as far as I understand it, to heads of government. And so that, as a practical matter, isn't an issue," Vaishnav said.

"If you speak with US government officials both in Washington and in India, they have through our consul general's office in Mumbai, been meeting with Modi," he said.