June 16, 2024

MOON Desk: The US President Joe Biden on Sunday, September 10, said that he raised the issue of respecting human rights with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in discussions on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

After departing Delhi before the end of the G-20 summit, Biden arrived in the Vietnam capital of Hanoi on Sunday morning. This visit is being seen as an important outreach to an Indo-Pacific partner.

In his opening remarks, Biden volunteered to say that human rights issues had been raised with his Indian counterpart.

“He and I have had substantial discussions about how we’re going to continue to strengthen the partnership between India and the United States, building on the Prime Minister’s visit to the White House last June. And, as I always do, I raised the importance of respecting human rights and the vital role that civil society and a free press have in building a strong and prosperous country with Mr. Modi,” he said.

On September 8, the Indian prime minister had hosted Biden at the former’s official residence, on the eve of the G20 summit.

The Indian readout for the meeting said that Modi “conveyed his appreciation for President Biden’s vision and commitment to further strengthen the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, which is based on shared democratic values, strategic convergences and strong people-to-people ties”.

However, it did not mention if human rights was brought up during the talks.

A senior White House official told the travelling media that the US president spoke to the Indian prime minister about the importance of a healthy democracy. “He doesn’t do this in such a way that suggests that one country is lecturing to another but rather that we all face shared challenges,” said Kurt Campbell, Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs in the US National Security Council.

Biden spoke to Modi about the importance of a healthy democracy, Campbell told reporters. “He doesn’t do this in such a way that suggests that one country is lecturing to another but rather that we all face shared challenges,” he said.

During the recent visit to India, there had also been repeated questions raised by the US media about their lack of access to venues for diplomatic interaction.

When Modi was in US for a state visit, Modi took part in an extremely rare press conference with Biden, where he answered a question from an American reporter about his government’s record in treatment of minorities.

Later, the ruling party’s supporters targeted the reporter on social media. The White House criticised the harassment as “unacceptable” and “antithetical to the very principles of democracy.”

 

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