The U.S. says its ambassador will hold an unprecedented meeting with Indian nationalist politician Narendra Modi, a leading candidate to become the nation's next prime minister.

Modi was denied a U.S. visa in 2005 for alleged complicity in anti-Muslim riots in 2002 in the state of Gujarat -- where he remains the top elected official. The violence left more than 1,000 people dead. Modi has denied any wrongdoing, but no U.S. ambassador has met with him since.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed Tuesday U.S. Ambassador Nancy Powell would meet with Modi but did not say when or where.

Modi is the prime ministerial candidate for the main opposition party, which is looking to wrest control from the scandal-plagued Congress Party in May elections.