Obama invites new India leader to visit despite past visa ban

By David Brunnstrom and Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama congratulated new Indian leader Narendra Modi on his election victory on Friday and invited him to the White House, even though he was barred from the country less than 10 years ago over massacres of Muslims. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies swept India’s elections, putting him in position to be prime minister, and ousted the ruling Nehru-Gandhi dynasty in a seismic political shift that gives the Hindu nationalist and his party a mandate for sweeping economic reform. Obama told Modi by telephone that he looked forward to working closely with him to “fulfill the extraordinary promise of the U.S.-India strategic partnership,” the White House said. “The president invited Narendra Modi to visit Washington at a mutually agreeable time to further strengthen our bilateral relationship.” A U.S. visit could come as soon as the U.N. General Assembly in New York in September, when Modi could also visit Washington.

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