India is on a spree to bust the myths created by the West against India. It is putting forth its views more vehemently than ever before. This is not the first time India has been criticised and accused of being intolerant or violating human rights. However, India’s appropriate reply is an indication that it won’t be a mere mute spectator or a scapegoat.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US was monitoring developments in India, “including a rise in human rights abuses” by State officials. It juxtaposed with remarks and a joint statement at 2+2 dialogue where shared values and democracy were repeatedly cited as a key source of the bilateral partnership between India and the US.
This is the first time that the US has directly implicated Indian government officials in human rights abuses in recent times. Since India refused to become a part of the pretentious scheme of the West, it is not surprising that India is on the radar. When India was recently threatened by the US for maintaining amicable relations with Russia and purchasing oil and energy etc., India gave a fitting reply to them by not wavering over its position on the current equation.
The State Department released its annual country reports on human rights practices for 2021. In the executive summary, the country report on India flagged what it called credible reports of a range of human rights violations. The annual report also mentioned extrajudicial killings, degrading treatment or punishment by the police and prison officials and arbitrary arrests and detentions by government authorities, among other concerns in India.
Last week, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar alleged, “How much does the Modi administration have to criminalise the act of being Muslim in India for us to say something? What will it take for us to outwardly criticise the action that the Modi administration is taking against its Muslim minorities?” Washington noted that Muslims in India are vulnerable to communal violence and discrimination.
If that were the case, why hasn’t India witnessed an exodus of the vulnerable minority? Why are they still residing in India and enduring the supposed intolerance and discrimination? Rather, there has been only inflow or migration of the persecuted communities from different countries to India. It is because India accommodates and respects all equally. It is inclusive in nature, regardless of any religion in this context.
Giving a clear message to America in response, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar said, “Look, people are entitled to have views about us. But we are also equally entitled to have views about their views and about the interests, and the lobbies and the vote banks which drive that. So, whenever there is a discussion, I can tell you that we will not be reticent about speaking out.” He clearly said in gestures that India is monitoring the violation of the human rights of Indians in America.
EAM Jaishankar also said that the issue of human rights was not discussed during the 2+2 ministerial meeting between India and the US this week.
Jaishankar, who has been continuously giving knowledge to India on the issue of human rights, gave the strongest message ever. There is a shift in the tone of India on how to convey the message.
When Blinken was giving knowledge to India, there was a deadly attack on two Sikhs in New York at the same time. It was an apparent reference to two Sikh men assaulted in an alleged hate crime incident in the Richmond Hills area of New York, US. The two were on an early morning walk. They were reportedly attacked at the same location where a community member was attacked nearly a couple of days ago.
In January, a Sikh taxi driver was assaulted at JFK International Airport, with the attacker allegedly calling him “turbaned people” and asking him to “go back to your country.”
Dr S Jaishankar’s rebuttal has been seen in the context of incidents of hate crimes against the Indian community in the US. These incidents have increased by 200% in recent years.
There has been a concern looming forever now that the foreign and external forces are trying to manipulate the narratives and pull the strings in a pattern and end India’s rising recognition in the global context. However, India has understood the notorious plan and refused to succumb to the Biden administration and refused to take the bait.
The two countries’ partnership and bilateral relationship are important from the economic and interdependency prisms. But, does the US wants to have this partnership on equal footing? Does it want to establish an equilibrium with India? Or does it view India as a buffer state? It is debatable.
Dr S Jaishankar asserted that the young Americans should better understand India and the world for the ties between the two countries to grow and added that the Americans should appreciate the efforts of a civilisational state and democracy like India.