EU ends 'boycott' of Narendra Modi?

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 08, 2013 15:20 hrs

German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner on Friday indicated that the European Union (EU) has ended the informal boycott on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

"I have always said that we will not interfere in election campaign in Gujarat. That is exactly what we have done. And a part of it was to talk directly to Mr Modi," Steiner told media on Friday.

"India is a democracy. We respect the democratic institutions. We respect election results in India and we have full trust in its judicial system," he said.

"Because of this respect and trust, we are now in a new phase and I think that this respect from us towards India is also what the people in India expect from us," he said.

Modi had met envoys of European Union countries and Steiner last month, media reports said.

"Exactly a month ago, on January 7, about noon, a white Ambassador rolled into the Chanakyapuri residence of Michael Steiner, Germany´s envoy to India. Inside was Narendra Modi, who had a fortnight earlier become chief minister of Gujarat for the fourth straight time," The Indian Express reported.

"Modi spent the next two hours with Steiner and his other guests - ambassadors of all countries in the European Union. Over lunch, he faced some ´tough´ questions on the 2002 riots in Gujarat, and he answered them all patiently. He also told the envoys about his model of governance, and his ideas for India," the newspaper said.

"The meeting signalled the end of the EU´s diplomatic boycott of him," it reported.

"In March 2002, EU ambassadors had resolved to break diplomatic contact with the Modi government at the levels of ambassador, deputy chief of mission and consul-general. A review in 2008 had decided to extend the freeze," said the newspaper.

After wining the Assembly polls, Modi took oath as Gujarat Chief Minister for the third time in December last year.

The infamous Gujarat riots of 2002 left hundreds of Muslims dead, injured and tortured and came as a blot in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule in the state.

The riots followed an incident of train burning in Godhra in which Hindus returning from Ayodhya were killed by a Muslim mob.

Around 1,000 supporters of prime accused Maulvi Umarjihad attacked the coach at the Godhra station and torched it killing 59 people and injuring many.

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