Bera plays safe on Modi, says India's role in Afghanistan critical

Last Updated: Mon, Aug 26, 2013 14:00 hrs

New Delhi, Aug 26 (IANS) Ami Bera, the only Indian American in the US Congress, said Monday India-US ties can become the "defining partnership of the 21st century" but played it safe on the question of giving Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi a US visa.

Bera, Democratic Congressman from California, said that US-India "partnership looks very bright" and the nearly three million strong Indian American community had a role to play in its growth.

Bera, a physician by professon who is only the third Indian American to serve in the US Congress, said the impending drawdown in Afghanistan was an "opportunity for India-US partnership". and that India's role was critical in "helping Afghanistan in its best shot at success".

During a talk at the Aspen Institute India, held at WWF here, Bera, to a question if the US was prepared to give Modi a visa, looked slightly taken aback, then took recourse to a safe answer. The member of the House of Representatives said it is a "State Department issue" and added that if Modi is desirous of a visa he can apply and the State Department would look into it in the normal process.

He was echoing what US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki had said last month in the US that if Modi applies the case would be reviewed just like any other applicants.

Bera also dodged a question on US sanctions against Iran hampering India seeking an alternate route to Afghanistan through that country, saying merely that the US has "sent a strong message" to Tehran on its alleged nuclear weapons programme.

Bera, whose parents came to the US from Gujarat, said most Indians in the US concentrate on making their life and career and it is only their children born and brought up in the US who are now taking an interest in American politics. He said he was sure more and more Indian Americans would in future take a shot at US politics in the future.

-- Indo-Asian News Service


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