2014-06-20T184728Z_1_LYNXMPEA5J0U5_RTROPTP_2_INDIA-POLITICS

Lawmakers seek to honor India's Modi with address to Congress

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes his oath at the presidential palace in New DelhiBy Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, once denied a visa to enter the United States over massacres of Muslims, is expected to receive the honor of addressing a joint session of the U.S. Congress during a visit to Washington in September. California Republican Ed Royce, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote to House Speaker John Boehner on Friday and asked that he invite Modi to address a joint session of the House and Senate during his trip. “In every aspect – whether it be in political, economic or security relations – the United States has no more important partner in South Asia,” the letter said. The administration of President George W. Bush denied Modi a visa in 2005 under a 1998 U.S. law barring entry to foreigners who have committed “particularly severe violations of religious freedom.” In 2002, when Modi had just become Gujarat’s chief minister, more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in sectarian riots in the state.

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