Didn't Equate Holocaust to Gujarat Riots: Khurshid
After his indirect reference to the Holocaust in the wake of the “change” in the US policy towards BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi created a furore, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Wednesday said he only meant that India couldn’t go by a foreign country’s assessment of the Gujarat riots.
US ambassador to India Nancy Powell will be meeting Modi in Gandhinagar on Thursday, the first such contact since the US denied a visa to the Gujarat Chief Minister in 2005 over his alleged complicity in the 2002 riots.
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in Washington on Tuesday that the US “certainly refutes that notion or that claim”, when asked about the inference made by Khurshid.
In response, the minister said: “There is a misreading of my comment”.
Claiming that he didn’t equate the 2002 riots with the Holocaust, Khurshid said: “I said we don’t tell them (the US) to forget the Holocaust... We don’t need to be told by them to forget it...”
The State Department also added that the Modi-Powell tete-e-tete was simply a meeting. “There has been no change in our long-standing visa policy. When individuals apply for a visa, their applications are reviewed in accordance with US law and policy,” said Psaki.
BJP sources also had indicated there was no plan to take up the visa issue during the meeting. But they saw the meeting as an indication of the US reading the writing on the wall ahead of the general elections.
“The visa issue is a non-issue unless and until Modi applies for a US visa. This is not likely to happen until after the elections,” said Milan Vaishnav of the Washington-based think tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
He described the meeting as a “recognition by the US government that Modi is a significant political leader, one that the US cannot afford to ostracise any further given his growing influence and political future”
“The signal is that if Modi does in fact become the Prime Minister, the US is prepared to have a relationship with him as it would with any other Indian Prime Minister,” he told Express.
TNIE Editorial: Much Ado About US Visa for Modi