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"Manmohan's statement not a defence of Modi"

By Our Diplomatic Correspondent

NEW DELHI, MARCH 23. The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh's statement in Parliament on the United States denial of a visa to the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, should be seen as a criticism of Washington and not a defence of Mr. Modi.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said this evening that Dr. Singh had taken a principled position on the Modi affair. It had been made clear that India would deal with its own citizens and that the U.S. should not give New Delhi any sermon.

Dr. Singh's statement could not be seen as condoning Mr. Modi's actions in Gujarat and no one could question Dr. Singh's secular credentials, he said.

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