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Foreign powers put doubts over India's Modi on hold

Published on Mar 25, 2014 11:20 AM
Mr Modi, 63, chief minister of Gujarat, was placed on a visa blacklist by the US and European governments following communal riots on his patch in 2002. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - He is a hardline Hindu nationalist who was boycotted by the West for years and has been a vocal critic of "expansionist" China, India's arch-rival.

But  Mr Narendra Modi's pro-business record and widespread frustration with the incumbents mean foreign powers are putting their doubts about India's likely next leader to one side for now.

Mr Modi's main opponent when general elections begin on April 7 is Mr Rahul Gandhi, the urbane scion of India's ruling family who was educated at Harvard and Cambridge universities.

But with polls showing Mr Gandhi's party all but certain to lose power to Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), analysts say Washington is ready to work with a man regarded as persona non grata until a few weeks back.

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