WASHINGTON, D.C.: A politician close to India’s incoming prime minister Narendra Modi called on Thursday (Friday in Manila) for strong relations with the United States, after spe–culation he could bear a grudge over past treatment.
Sudhanshu Trivedi, national spokesperson for Modi’s Bha–ratiya Janata Party that won a resounding victory in recent elections, said there had also been “many apprehensions” about the Hindu nationalist BJP before it last took power in 1998.
But the 1998-2004 BJP govern–ment of prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee “was the golden era of Indo-US relations, so we have proved that we are capable of maintaining relations to new height,” Trivedi told a conference in Washington by phone.
Citing former US president Bill Clinton’s past remark that the world’s two largest democracies should help shape the global order, Trivedi said: “I think the actual time of realizing this dream has now come.”
Modi was refused a US visa in 2005 on human rights grounds from the anti-Muslim riots three years earlier in his state of Gujarat in which more than 1,000 people died.
Modi, who was Gujarat’s chief minister, was accused of turning a blind eye or worse to the violence although inves–tigations cleared him of per–sonal responsibility.
Modi has not expressed bit–terness in public toward the United States, but US policymakers and experts are carefully scrutinizing his remarks as he has little foreign policy experience.