May 16th, 2014
10:11 PM ET

Time for U.S. to embrace India

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Fareed Zakaria

The United States has to clear the air with the person who will be India's next prime minister, Narendra Modi. Modi has been shunned by U.S. officials for a decade. The George W. Bush administration had put him on a blacklist of sorts and denied him a visa to come to America. The visa issue is now irrelevant because as the head of government, Modi automatically gets a special visa. But the Obama administration should go further and move to strengthen ties with him. The cold shoulder should be replaced with a warm embrace.

First, a few words to explain the blacklist and why, in my view, putting Modi on it was selective, arbitrary, and excessive.

Modi, a Hindu nationalist politician, is (until he becomes prime minister) head of the government in the Indian state of Gujarat. He held that job in 2002, when fierce rioting between Hindus and Muslim broke out.In that capacity, it is alleged, he encouraged – or did nothing to stop – vigilante violence against Muslims and police complicity with this violence.

In those riots 1,000 people, almost all Muslims died. Subsequent prosecutions of those accused of killing Muslims have been minimal.It is a dark episode in India's history and Modi comes out of it tainted as the head of the state government at the time. But his own role remains unclear…

…Here's the part that bothers me: Modi is the only individual ever to have been denied a visa for violating religious freedom, which makes the Bush administration's decision look utterly arbitrary…

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, the very body that had singled out Modi, lists countries "of particular concern" for their oppression of religious minorities – Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq.

Not a single government official from any of these countries has ever been placed on a blacklist or denied a visa.

Watch the video for the full Take or read the WaPo column

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Topics: Fareed's Take • GPS Show • India

soundoff (402 Responses)
  1. chri§§y

    I totally agree @ SJ strange isnt it as well? More fixated on misory then the positive things in life!

    May 21, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
  2. chri§§y

    Oops meant "misery" my bad!

    May 21, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
  3. Suraj

    A very simplistic, dumbed-down 'report' by a writer who probably considers Bush is responsible for all the debacles of the last six years.
    I grew up, many years ago, in a very secular India. The BJP party has always been against that and the henchmen are known by an oxymoron -militant Hindus! Modi is smart and will not have taint his hands but has minions to do his bidding. Started with the arrest of the man who opposed him in Varanasi. Shades of Chicago and Community Organizers!! Growing up we were taught to be Indians first, not any more. Watch for reports on harassment of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and anyone who is not a Hindu. Sad. Very sad.

    May 21, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
    • couldn't digest this oxy morons comment

      Who told you all these? Your madrassa maula in Pak?

      May 21, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
    • stupidindian


      May 22, 2014 at 11:25 pm |
    • Aravind

      Are you serious Suraj? When did you learn about India First in India? In India, it is only castes, religion is later. If all Hindu religion vote for BJP then should have been ruling for last 20 years in the name of Rama. It is caste based politics, politics of appeasement and reservation which is making country mediocrity. I'm not a hard-core fan of BJP but among all fools he stood the best whether it is marketing / campaign or some thing else.

      Even Fareed Zakaria didn't mention how many Hindus died in the riot and what was the cause for the riot? And in his (Modi) 12 year rule post riots did any riot happened in that state. There were two major terrorist attacks in the state in the last 12 years, even that could have triggered as riot but that didn't happen.

      I seriously doubt the ability of his (FZ) earlier reporting in truth and manner which is handled.

      May 23, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
      • Raj

        This is factually incorrect that there has been no riots in Gujrat after 2002. I do agree though that there have been a little to no coverage of those riots. refer to this article and at the end of it there are links which dispute the claim of "riot free Gujrat",

        May 24, 2014 at 2:51 am |
    • abhi

      have you ever heard of the ethnic cleansing of half million kashmiri hindus in kashmir.....does ur education make u understand that wherever there is muslim majority in the sub cotinent every non muslim community stands decimated....u are a pseudo sicular

      May 26, 2014 at 1:14 am |
    • Amruta R Eswara

      To: Surajji – You are so right. Modi will never be caught doing wrong. He has others to do that for him ! It has already started. They are sending one-way ticket to Pakistan to people, very honorable and eminent thinkers at that, who did not agree with Modi or who supported Congress during the recent elections. I Seriously believe that Hindutwa of BJP is shield to punish/harm any one who expresses opposing views. A very sad day for India. People like Gurucharan Das who said that they are taking a calculated risk by voting to Modi's BJP have only fed milk to snakes. Snake will always be poisonous. Ever vigilant citizenry of India is the only recourse for now.......

      May 26, 2014 at 8:12 am |
  4. Krishnarao

    Something that was left out, over 200 Hindus were murdered during the riots. Funny how writers always leave that part out.

    May 22, 2014 at 12:54 am |
    • the simple truth

      but if you ask Modi Bhai, he will spin it as follows: the riots of 2002 were not really riots. They were just very polite pilgrims, both hindu and muslims, who were determined to go to the next life, to seek nirvana,and so they politely requested to be euthanized, so that then could get mokhsha......... he Modi, was fully aware of these polite requests to be euthanized, and so he allowed just 1000 people to go for nirvana, forcing the others to stay living, in Gujarat, so that they could vote for him in the next election..........

      May 22, 2014 at 2:14 am |
      • sanju

        you seem like a pilgrim too . LOL

        May 26, 2014 at 9:12 am |
    • Raj

      What is the point you are trying to make? Does that justify the killing of Muslims?

      May 24, 2014 at 2:52 am |
    • Ryan

      Actually these USA you should never believe, they embraced India and they they opened seven holes of Devyani. USA guys still call indians as dirty blacks. USA is concerned only about their money and oil. USA kills at least 200 muslims in a day and blame MOdi for killing 1000 mulsims some 10 years back. Such is USA claibre. If anybody goes all out with USA he will die on the roads of India like a stray dog. USA is the worst country to have close relationships as it is a cobra not turstworthy.

      May 26, 2014 at 12:35 am |
  5. Vivek Johri

    The highest courts have given Mr Modi a clean chit... and a time when the opposition had put all efforts to show him down!
    Now it is like holding the Transport Minister responsible, if there was a train accident in the country! Yes, better systems and processes have to be designed, but are we not collectively responsible to what goes around in our environment? Have we been honest a cent percent and have acted with integrity without exception? Mahatma Gandhi had said this "You must be the Change you wish to see in the World". We want everyone to act in accordance, but do little by ourselves.

    May 22, 2014 at 9:06 am |
  6. AK

    The reporter should have correct statistics rather throwing irrelevant numbers and non sense . The reporter should do his due dilligence before writing anything in media. The above is disrepctful to a country's dignity and to all Indians.
    India is a secular country where all regligions are given equal status. The reporter is putting his own perception, biased frustration and portraying bad picture of the country in front of whole world. Please rethink the above facts in the report and consult Indian media.

    May 22, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
    • Jav

      Could not have said it better !!! Thank you !!!

      May 23, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
  7. VPR

    Is it coincidence that US revoked Narendra Modi's visa immediately after his government in Gujarat passed a bill that banned religious conversion in 2003?

    May 22, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
  8. NP

    The roits were following a brning alive of Hindu people returning from pilgrimage. Amongst the ones that were burned there were kids and infants as well as mothers. The part that is left out is that the one found guilty of facilitating and aiding in that horrible act was a member of then ruling party (Congress). They still supported him and provided campaign money to run his re-election bid. Also the fact that after that ritos the state had no riots for now 12 years. The state economy has grown faster then rest of the country. The state has become a model for rest of the states to form their policies. So yeah the facts are con there....

    May 22, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
    • Sreenivasa Reddy

      Yes, you are right. Most of the foreign media doesn't know the truth. The people should understand why the riots has been started and that will be the root cause. Especially the foreign media should understand the truth behind these riots. Does need Media support what happend to the Pilgrims who got burnt alive in the train? I sincerely request the Media or the Authors should do some back ground work before they right the article. More over there were many riots in Gujarath before this as well and this is a riot prone area.

      May 26, 2014 at 1:36 am |
  9. Rajaram

    Modi was let off by Supreme Court of India for want of proof. Where is the proof after a decade? All vanished. Witness and proof were suppressed and they were made to disappear. Modi is a nationalistic and a extreme Rights in all sense. The fact is Modi's immediate ministers and confidants were found guilty and sent to jail. Many foreign embassies monitored and recorded the wireless communications and events and the complicity and criminal activity of police and politicians at that time. So Modi's was held responsible and Visa to USA and to few European countries was banned. Modi had also been found to have used the police welfare funds to buy witness of Riots. Now that witness is not there. How is he not guilty?

    May 22, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
    • NP

      There is no evidence as the charges are figment of imagination.... You might as well add Gulf war was his fault...

      May 22, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
    • TKS

      How ignorant!

      In the end, only truth holds together and falsehood falls apart.

      May 23, 2014 at 6:08 pm |
  10. Edward

    It is shocking to see how many Indians or Americans of Indian origin will parrot the whole "secularism" line, in a desperate effort to gain acceptance by the liberal American elite and get invited to the right sort of parties. Have no idea why one of the most educated, talented and entrepreneurial groups in the United States would subject themselves to this co-option by the liberal establishment.

    May 22, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
  11. Banavara

    Mr Zakaria,
    I liked your articles. Why you didn't mention the cause for riot in your article ? It was because these moron muslims burnt hindus alive inside the train compartment. It was a plain revenge . What did America after 9/11 ? Did bush killed more than 50,000 muslims and occupied 2 countries ? If Modi is brilliant , he should not visit USA at all but aliging himslef to China and Russia again.

    May 22, 2014 at 9:06 pm |
  12. Raghunathan

    Modi is a hindu extremist party leader who got elected by the money spent on him by his rich friends controlling gas supplies, electricity, petroleum products, etc. They marketed Modi to the common man to get him elected and they succeded. Now they will want their pound of flesh (flesh of common man). Modi have to allow them to hike gas, electricity, petrol prices 2-3 folds gradually. Common man resisting the price hike will be asked to buy a unreliable solar lamp manufactured by the same rich people.This has started to happen.

    May 22, 2014 at 9:12 pm |
    • Jav

      Where do you get all these baseless allegations ???

      May 23, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
    • Sreenivasa Reddy

      Are you blind towards the price raise happened during UPA govt all these days? Middle class as well suffered due to this steep price raise.. You are going to see a revolution in india soon..people from US should come running to india to find better living down the lane..during Modi's tenure..

      May 26, 2014 at 1:40 am |
  13. Roshan Das

    The world and the minorities will be watching Modi with fear. If he allows his extremist hindu friends to committ crimes , massacres against christians, muslims, sikhs, etc and he looks the other way around, then it will take a single person to take him to ICC court when he visits other countries.

    May 22, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
    • vinod

      Do u mean that u can bully india by writing in words that a single person is needed for to take him to icc. funny hahahahahahaha. even ur super boses cannot do that. try elsewhere. u cannot do anything to northkorea,iran and the list is endless......... dont ever try to poke a hindu indian. the rest will be imaginary for u to think

      May 25, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
    • Chitral Cheetah

      A left wing Commie Bong. Other than the left wing liberals in the western world and the Muslims it is the Commies from Bengal that do not like Modi. He comes from Gujarat known for its focus on Business. That alone will lift Indians out of poverty. The Commies from WB can ride their 1920s Trams with floor boards missing because they want to pay 10 paise per trip.

      May 27, 2014 at 1:45 am |
  14. ALiM

    I think the fundamental issue FZ has missed here is; why did the US take the action it took? what information did the US have that it decided to place Modi on this so called black list....may be its time someone from the Bush era comes forward and shares it with the world.
    How can you use the argument what goes in Saudi Arabia , Pakistan or any other forsaken place on the planet justify a wrong done some where else on the planet. Its been long enough that we move away from this crusade mind set.

    May 22, 2014 at 11:26 pm |
    • Sanjay Singh

      How did other countries ban Modi from entering their country? If you have read all the reports (Newspapers, media, mass communication reports) during the killings of innocent, you will come across Reports mentioning that many Foreign monitors recorded wireless communications between the police and politicians complicity in the killings and they were aware of all the happenings during the Riots. Modi's Visa was banned due to this. Many of Modi's close cabinet ministers and confidants were found guilty and sent to jail. Modi was blamed but he escaped punishment due to lack of proof , the witness and proof had vanished after a decade.

      May 23, 2014 at 8:50 pm |
  15. Jav

    CNN is my favorite news channel but It is pathetic that FZ representing CNN has such poor knowledge. Please get your math right before you write a blog...and it bothers me every time i hear the same word repeated at CNN calling N. Modi a hindu nationalist ??? What exactly are you trying to tell your viewers ??? India is the biggest democracy in the world and we do not vote people based on the religion... etc. It is the agenda of "development for all" that got Modi a landslide win. Do you people want me to give you a list of all the middle east muslim leaders whose hands are tainted in blood from mass murder and yet the only politician you see is Modi who is root of all problems ??? Even after Modi was given clean chit by the supreme court of India !!! By the way, in our democracy no govt can interrupt Supreme court judgement...wonder if some of the haters want to point finger at the judicial system alltogether. Also by the way, Mr. Zakaria i find it interesting how you missed pointing out that out of 1000 people 300 were hindus who died too. And all those accused of killing the 1000 victims were prosecuted and send to prison accordingly by the order of court !!!

    May 23, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
    • Sach Bol

      Why do you spread lies? India is a country where elections and candidates are selected and are based on religion and castes, College admission is based on Religion and Castes, Jobs are based on religion and castes, Development of localities is based on Religion. Entry to Temples are based on religion and castes, Army regiments are based on Castes and Religion -Jat Regiment, Sikh Regiments, Gurkha Regiment, Rajput Regiment, etc etc. Different religions, different castes have different laws, Hindu Law (Vedic law, Anti Cow slaughter law, Non Conversion law, ), Muslim Law (Divorce Law), Sikh law (Kirpan, Turban wearing Law), Christian Law ( separatefor education and Churches/Charity), Minority Law (for Jain, Buddhist, etc), Schedule Caste Law, Schedule Tribe Law,
      Modi was found not guilty not because he was innocent but for prosecutors not finding proof . After a decade all the proof and all witnessess vanished or died. Modi and his hit team had enough time(Modi had a police hit team working against his enemies and this is a fact) to do.

      May 23, 2014 at 8:32 pm |
      • the simple truth

        Thank you Sir! Very well said......... 🙂 Modi Bhai is a Gujarati crook, cheat, liar and RSS terrorist........ plain and simple.......

        May 24, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
  16. Niranjan

    Two things that were not mentioned here. One is that the riots started as a result of the burning of a train at Godhra where many Hindus were burned to death and the reactions to the incident took violent form. Also, there have been no riots since 2002 in Gujarat and many muslims have learned that they too need to live in peace with the rest of India. The Congress party had no other issue to deal with in the recent and past elections and hence has kept this issue alive for over a decade while many other riots have happened since 2002 have been ignored and/or forgotten. Congress has alos been fooling muslims into believing that if Modi comes to power they will be slaughtered in the streets. So, muslims have been voting out of fear of Modi. This time muslims learned that they are being used by the congress party. US could have taken more rational view of the situation and not just follow the congress party propaganda and banned Modi from visiting USA.

    May 23, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
  17. the simple truth

    Nobody becomes Prime Minister of India without being a crook and a cheat. But to have an RSS Hindu Extremist become Prime Minister, now that is a different story. Why do you think Mohammed Morsi of Muslim Brotherhood, a religious extremist group, was kicked out of being Prime Minister of Egypt? Can you imagine if Bal Thackarey became Prime Minister of India? These RSS are just thugs and murderers, plain and simple. If terrorist crimes are committed against muslims, christians, buddhists, jains, sikhs, in India, over the next few years, and nothing is done about it, then the entire world will bear witness to this Bal Thackarey radical right wing extremist called Modi Bhai.......... and we all know where Egypt is right now............. in a chaotic mess.......... 🙁

    May 23, 2014 at 11:05 pm |
    • boldface

      Let's talk about Indian's slaughtered in this land 300+ years ago.

      May 25, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
  18. J SINGH

    LOL! THREE NDIAN INVESTIGATIONS! I thought oxymorons had only two words in them:( Bush was right and you have no idea that Indian democracy is a sham and a shame.
    BUT Americans have never cared for who is democratic and who is not! Have they now? This editorial was blah blah blah and let Hitler be treated nicely kind of thing. He runs a party which has written Nazi like Apartheid for 5000 years. Are you guys dumb?

    May 24, 2014 at 3:11 am |
  19. SKS

    Mr. Zakaria, When you mentioned about 2002 riots you should also mention about the killings of Hindus by Muslims. They were burned alive inside the train compartment. This started the riots and in a flash it became communal riots. No administrator could have stopped it in three days. Even before Modi many riots have happened and no minister had stopped these riots in three to four days. Zakaria is writing this statement "In those riots 1,000 people, almost all Muslims died. " to defame Hindus. No matter what other do is fine for Zakaria but if Hindus take any action in self defense then it is wrong. Pl do not forget that after 2002 same Hindus and Modi have not allowed any riots in Gujarat. That is an achievement.

    May 24, 2014 at 7:35 am |
  20. petroskies

    The U.S.government forget the jews in the blacklist , they killed thousand of palestinians muslims too.

    May 24, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
  21. Shashi

    I Agree SKS is 100% right.


    May 25, 2014 at 9:38 am |
  22. Shashi

    Fareed has not mention any word about how it was started and How many hindus were killed.

    May 25, 2014 at 9:49 am |
  23. boldface

    It is very easy to break relations and very difficult to built one. What US did was not justified in any sense and should expect appropriate reaction from Modi.

    May 25, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
    • Please ban PM Modi from visiting USA

      We Americans never ever want to see Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in USA. He is a member of RSS, a Hindu extremist terrorist organization. Period. CNN, please spread the word about Modi Bhai, and make sure his visa ban is extended, so that he can never visit the USA. He is a terrorist in disguise, plain and simple............ 🙁

      May 25, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
  24. boldface


    Please do your self favor if you don't want Indian people against you, just fired zakaria.

    May 25, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
    • don't you dare attack Fareed

      My dear ignoramus boldface, people originally from India, who now live all over the world, especially USA, absolutely LOVE Fareed Zakaria. We all hope that's Fareed's awesome GPS show continues for the next 100 years!!!!!!!!!! When you, boldface, graduate from Harvard, like Fareed, and write 4 books, like Fareed, and are extremely intelligent, like Fareed, and are extremely well read, knowledgeable and well traveled, like Fareed, when you get invited to give the commencement address at Harvard, like Fareed, then and only then can you dare to stand in judgement of India's most brilliant and respected son............ until then, take your ignorant opinions and flush them and yourself, down the toilet, where they belong!!!!!!!!!!!

      May 25, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
  25. fn

    May 25, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
  26. fn

    The above is the nearly true witness account of some one involved from the beginning in the Ban.
    How evangelist hijeced it.

    May 25, 2014 at 8:06 pm |
  27. chri§§y

    What is hijeced?

    May 26, 2014 at 12:08 am |
  28. Anil

    Article seems to be prejudiced .
    However its time for inclusive growth for which each Individual Indian is responsible.

    May 26, 2014 at 11:39 am |
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