March 19, 2005
New Delhi

PM's statement in the Rajya Sabha on the US denial of visa to the Gujarat Chief Minister

Hindi Version

Mr. Chairman, Sir, I share the concern that has been expressed in this matter on all sides of the House. When I came to know of the denial of visa to Shri Modi, yesterday, I immediately instructed our External Affairs Minister to call the US Ambassador and explain to them that we are greatly concerned and we greatly regret the decision that has been taken by the United States Government.

Sir, the Government has taken note of developments arising from the decision of the Government of the United States of America to deny the request of the Chief Minister of Gujarat , Shri Narendra Modi, for a government visa. The Government is also greatly concerned by the further decision of the United States to revoke other categories of visas already issued to Shri Modi.

Hon. Members of this August house would be aware of the fact that our Foreign Secretary , yesterday summoned the Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission in New Delhi to convey strong demarche on the decision of the U.S. Government . Our Government has clearly pointed out our very deep concern and regret over the U.S. decision to deny a visa to a constitutionally elected Chief Minister of a state of our Union. We have observed that this uncalled for decision betrays a lack of sensitivity and due courtesy to an elected authority.

The U.S. Government has been clearly told of our concern at this development. We have also called for the urgent re-consideration of this decision by the United States Government. Mr. Chairman, Sir, the American Government has also been clearly informed that while we respect their sovereign right to grant or refuse visas to any person, we do not believe that it is appropriate to use allegations or anything less than due process to make a subjective judgment to question a constitutional authority in India.

Sir, we agree that this is not a matter of partisan politics, but rather a matter of concern over a point of principle. I think , the Government's prompt and firm response clearly shows our principled stand in this matter.

Thank You.

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