Why US companies applaud embassy outreach to India's prospective PM

Regardless of whether opposition leader Modi, accused of human rights abuses, would in fact usher in a more business-friendly regime, restoring bilateral bonhomie is good for business.

Ajay Verma/Reuters
Supporters of India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) listen to Gujarat's chief minister and Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate for BJP during a live video broadcast campaign on 'Talk over tea with Modi,' in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh February 12, 2014.

The US embassy in India announced Tuesday that the ambassador will meet with prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, signaling a new State Department approach to a man who was once denied a US visa over human rights concerns.

For American firms doing business in India, a little fence-mending between US and Indian officialdom is surely a welcome development. The two countries are fresh off an emotionally-raw diplomatic feud this winter that called into question the warmth of their post-cold-war embrace.

By requesting a meeting with Mr. Modi, the US is signaling that the overall relationship is too important to be spoiled by tensions with individual leaders. And it suggests that the State Department agrees with the Indian media consensus that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party is in a strong position heading into national elections this May.

“The understanding here is that the US has to do this because he is prospectively now the next prime minister,” says our correspondent in India.

The embassy may also be listening to the business community, our correspondent adds.... For the rest of the story, continue reading at our new business publication Monitor Global Outlook.

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