"We view our relationship with India as one that's vitally important for economic, strategic reasons and one that we look forward to continuing to grow in the future," she said when asked about the issue of visa for Modi, who is BJP's prime ministerial candidate.

In 2005, US State Department had revoked a visa that Modi had for travelling to US on the ground of alleged human rights violations after the 2002 Gujarat riots.

United States has repeatedly said there is no change in its long-standing visa policy relating to Modi but he is free to apply for a visa and await a review like any other applicant.

Last year, Modi's plans to address by video a University of Pennsylvania conference were scrapped following opposition from Indian-American professors, alumni and students.

However, in a sudden u-turn in February, US signaled the end of its boycott of Modi when its Ambassador to India Nancy Powell met him in Ahmedabad.

Officials have since said whoever is elected India's next leader would be welcome to US.

"We look forward to working with the leaders chosen by the Indian people to advance this important partnership and to set an ambitious agenda," Psaki said.

She refused to comment on the results of the exit polls according to which Modi could be the next Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, a top American expert has said the prospect for a dramatic resuscitation of Indo-US relations under a government led by Modi looks less than promising, which he mainly attributed to visa issue related to him.

"Today, both Modi and United States are trapped in a catch-22: in understandable pique, Modi has declared that he will never apply for an American visa again — and there is no way to revalidate his now-expired visa if he will not apply a new," said Ashley Tellis from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a prestigious American think-tank.

(Agencies)

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