Biden will not ‘lecture’ Modi on India's democratic record: White House

Jun 22, 2023 07:40 AM IST

Sullivan's remarks comes after 75 US lawmakers wrote to President Biden, asking him to raise concern about India's recent democratic record with PM Modi.

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Wednesday said President Joe Biden will not “lecture” Prime Minister Narendra Modi on democracy. Sullivan told reporters that President Biden is expected to raise America's concerns about India's recent democratic record but in a way that the US doesn't seek to “lecture or assert that we don’t have challenges ourselves.”

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. (AFP)
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. (AFP)

Sullivan's remarks came after 75 US Senators and Congressional representatives of the Democratic Party wrote a letter to Biden outlining their areas of concern, including India's recent democratic record.

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Citing reports of the US State Department and civil society outfits, the lawmakers asked Biden to raise specific issues of “the shrinking of political space, the rise of religious intolerance, the targeting of civil society organizations and journalists, and growing restrictions on press freedoms and internet access” in India.

They noted that friends should speak in an honest and forthright way. “That is why we respectfully request that — in addition to the many areas of shared interests between India and the U.S. — you also raise directly with Prime Minister Modi areas of concern.”

When asked if Biden would raise the issue with Modi, who is on a state visit to US, Sullivan said, “We do so in a way where we don’t seek to lecture or assert that we don’t have challenges ourselves.”

India has consistently rejected criticism of its human rights record, and in the context of the US, blamed it on “votebank politics” and fake information based on inputs by actors with dubious links.

Earlier today, President Biden and First Lady Jill received Prime Minister Modi at the White House for a private dinner. Modi will attend a state dinner on Thursday night, after addressing a joint session of Congress and holding a rare press conference with Biden.

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