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Biden Mandarins Tweet India on Human Rights Even As They Talk About Wider Links | India News


WASHINGTON: Fears in New Delhi that human rights and civil liberties issues will come to the fore in a Biden administration were vindicated this week when a senior US administration official expressed concern over recent actions by the US government. Modi that, according to him, do not conform to those of the country. democratic values.
“India remains the world’s largest democracy with a strong rule of law and an independent judiciary and enjoys a strong and growing strategic partnership with the United States. However, some of the actions of the Indian government have raised concerns that are incompatible with the democratic values ​​of India, ”said Acting Undersecretary of State for South and Central Asia Dean Thompson, before a congressional panel that heard testimony on democracy in the Indo-Pacific region.
“This includes increased restrictions on free speech and the detention of human rights activists and journalists,” Thompson told the subcommittee, adding that the United States regularly participates on these issues, including important civil society work.
The increased arrest and prosecution of journalists and civil liberties activists in India is drawing the attention of their counterparts in the US who have found a voice in the Biden administration after these issues were marginalized during the Trump era. . Administration officials and legislators have also raised the issue tactfully and in context.
Although the panel heard testimony about the poor human rights record in the region, including in China and Pakistan, India has a higher standard given its democratic credentials. Thompson told lawmakers that the United States has been concerned about civil liberties in countries in the region, including restrictions on journalists in Pakistan and Bangladesh, but the same was happening now in India as well, despite the very vibrant press. of the country that reports very freely about its government.
Lawmakers also raised concerns about the situation in Kashmir, citing consultations from constituents. “Kashmir is an area where we have urged them to get back to normal as quickly as possible, we have even seen some steps taken: the release of prisoners, the restoration of 4G access, things of that nature. There are other electoral steps that we would like you to take that we have encouraged you to do and will continue to do, ”Thompson told the panel.
However, the broader sentiment in the audience remained in favor of a strong partnership between the United States and India, particularly in light of China’s belligerence, a view Thompson agreed with.
“At this time, through our comprehensive global strategic partnership with India, we are looking at areas where we can work together to strengthen across the region the effects of countries’ ability to roll back evil influence and through Quad initiative where we incorporate Japan and Australia as well, ”Thompson told the panel.

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