New Delhi: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi told a group of European ambassadors that the religious riots of 2002 in the state were an unfortunate incident, according to people aware of what was said at the meeting who didn’t want to be named.
Modi met the European Union (EU) representatives at the German embassy in New Delhi last month over lunch hosted by German ambassador Michael Steiner, ending a 10-year boycott of the Bharatiya Janata Party leader.
Steiner told reporters the decision to interact with Modi was taken after the December 2012 polls in Gujarat that brought the BJP leader to power for the third consecutive time.
“I have always said that we will not interfere in an ongoing election campaign in Gujarat and that we will take a fresh look after the elections,” he said. “That’s exactly what we were doing and part of it is to talk directly to chief minister Modi.”
Steiner said the EU respected democratic institutions and election results in India and “we have full trust in its judicial system. Because of this respect and trust, we are now in a new phase and I think that this respect from us towards India is also what the people in India expect from us,” he said.
Last year, British high commissioner James Bevan had called on Modi in Gujarat, signalling an end to his diplomatic isolation. Modi is seen as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate though the party has not officially announced a name as yet.