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Josy Joseph in New Delhi
American Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Christina B Rocca is arriving in New Delhi early on Tuesday even as the external affairs ministry agonises about the shadow the Gujarat riots will cast on her latest assessment of the country.
Rocca, who is in Islamabad at present, will call on Union Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani at 1100 IST on Tuesday and discuss the situation in Gujarat. Sources say she will convey the concern of the United States for the safety of the minorities.
Rocca is also expected to meet senior officials of the external affairs ministry. She may meet External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh as well, but the meeting is yet to be fixed.
But what is worrying the external affairs ministry on the eve of the visit is the impact of the Gujarat carnage on India's image. The way Rocca assesses the situation will be crucial in this regard. Officials admit her report to the administration at the end of her third visit to the country could prove disastrous.
The fallout of the riots can be felt on almost every front ranging from foreign investment to tourism, officials now admit. And diplomats are concerned that the government will not be able to give a plausible explanation for why the state government has been unable to contain the violence even after a month.
A few days ago, the US had issued a travel advisory to its citizens about visiting India in the wake of the Gujarat riots.
Rocca had cut short her visit to India last month after a bomb blast in a Islamabad church killed the wife and child of an American diplomat, besides three others.
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