John Kirby, the director of strategic communications at the White House, defended President Biden’s choice to extend an invitation to Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister, to visit the United States this month, hailing India as a “vibrant democracy” deserving of a “deepening” engagement with America.
On June 22, Modi is anticipated to land in Washington, DC, for a visit that would include a state supper at the White House, the greatest honor for visiting heads of state, as well as a probable speech to a joint session of Congress.
“Supporting India’s ascent to global dominance, according to the U.S., is in our strategic interest,” an anonymous Biden administration member stated to reporters in February.
Due to the rising hostility between China and India, as well as India’s potential to replace China as a manufacturing giant and help temper Chinese communist aggression in the Indo-Pacific area, the Biden administration has made an effort to deepen its ties with India. Due to China’s harsh coronavirus lockdowns, which severely limited its production capacity, Modi’s Hindu nationalist administration has aggressively courted international firms to relocate from China to India. This effort has been rather successful. Since People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers tried to establish a foothold in Indian territory in June 2020, India and China have also regularly engaged in military conflict along their shared border. This conflict was fought with sticks as well as barbed wire and left more than twice as many Chinese as Indian soldiers deceased.
The rising litany of human rights abuses, notably against Christians and Muslims, that are condoned – and some would even argue promoted – by the Hindu nationalist Modi administration complicates any prospective strengthening of relations between the United States and India. Hindu nationalism, the belief that Hinduism defines Indian identity, is extensively promoted by the country’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which encourages discrimination against the Indian Christians, Sikhs, Muslims, and adherents of other faiths.
According to David Curry, president, and chief executive officer of Global Christian Relief, “there has been a 300 percent increase in documented assaults on Christians and Christian churches since the BJP Party, Prime Minister Modi’s party, came to power in 2014. There has just been this enormous increase. That’s because he has a nationalistic agenda, which, to put it simply, implies that Christians aren’t really Indian citizens because you have to be a Hindu.”
A broad range of human rights violations against non-Hindus in India was described in the State Dept. Religious Freedom Report for 2022, which was released last month. These violations included assaults by both Hindu mobs and the police.
The newest outbreak of violence in India started this past month in northern Manipur, where the Meitei tribe, which is mostly Hindu, coexists with other minor tribes that are predominately Christian. Tens of thousands of people were displaced as a consequence of Meitei terrorist assaults on tribal, multiethnic Kuki settlements, and continued arson attacks on Christian districts.