There is no change in the US' visa policy with respect to the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, the Obama administration said today and noted that it looks forward to working with India, irrespective of the outcome of next year's general elections.
"I would just note that there has been no change in US rules or regulations, with respect to its visa policy. That is that all individuals apply and have to undergo a review process," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal, said at a news conference.
"So the point at which there is an application, there will be a review process, and I can't speak to what the outcome of that process would be."
"So as far as I'm concerned, there's no news there," Biswal said when asked about the US visa policy with regard to Modi, the Gujarat Chief Minister.
"There's no change in policy there. It is as it has always been, which is that visa applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis," she said.
When pressed further, Biswal said that it is her understanding is that the US has diplomatic visas, A1 visas, for government officials who are on official business, who are members of the national government, and all other individuals, the normal process is a tourist visa, and that goes through the individual application process.
"And so depending on the official and the capacity in which they're visiting, the determination is made on what kind of visa they're applying for," she said.
Noting that in India, the world's largest democracy, voters have demonstrated time again, robust and resilient democracy, Biswal said it's an impressive process to watch unfold as hundreds of millions of people go to the polls in a peaceful manner.
"So we look forward to the Indian elections and we look forward to watching that process unfold," she said.
"We've also worked closely with India to learn some of the lessons of its democratic process and its election process, to see how particularly the technical capabilities that India has built up can benefit other countries as well," Biswal said.
"The United States looks forward to working in close partnership with India with whatever the outcome of that election process will be in terms of the next government that comes into place," Biswal said in response to a question.