As President Trump and Prime Minister Modi prepare to meet for the first time, the issue of Compassion International and Christian persecution are two issues many Christian advocates hope are discussed. Since his election in 2014, Modi’s BJP-led government has overseen an India growing with religious intolerance and persecution of religious minorities. Last year, Compassion International, a Christian NGO that supported over 100,000 children in India, was forced to close its operations in India after the Indian government disallowed the NGO from receiving any funds outside of India. Many, including the head of Compassion International, claim the Indian government shut them down because of their Christian identity as an organization. Will President Trump, who has claimed to be a champion for persecuted Christians around the world, take this opportunity to bring up the plight of the millions of Christians facing persecution in India today?
06/26/2017 India (The Indian Express) – Three months after Christian charity organization Compassion International was forced to shut its operations in India following a government directive, the Indian side may be asked some tough questions from US interlocutors on the crackdown on NGOs during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stay here.
The Prime Minister, who arrived in Washington DC Saturday night, will meet US administration officials Sunday onward and US President Donald Trump Monday.
Influential US Congressman and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, Ed Royce, told The Indian Express, “The US-India partnership is critically important, and that’s why I hope Prime Minister Modi will take time to listen to those who are concerned about crackdowns on non-governmental organizations, including the shuttering of Compassion International that was providing critical tutoring, nutrition and medical services to more than 145,000 Indian children.”
Royce has been at the forefront of those critical of the Indian government’s actions against NGOs, especially Compassion International.
Since the current US administration has a strong base in the conservative constituency in the US, Modi’s visit may give an opportunity for the administration to raise this issue. While it is highly unlikely that Trump may raise the issue, other key administration officials may raise this with the Prime Minister and his official delegation, US officials indicated.
David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, a global advocate for persecuted Christians, wrote in The Hill, a DC-based news outlet on American politics, on Saturday: “As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to meet with President Trump this week, a question is looming: what will President Trump say about the rise in brutal persecution of Christians, Muslims and other religious minorities in India? Can we expect the President to bring this issue to light, or let it linger in the shadows? Having recently returned from India, I witnessed firsthand accounts of pastors imprisoned and churches attacked by mobs of Hindu radicals, not to mention the abysmal saga of Compassion International, wherein the Indian government’s crackdown-on this and other organizations-has led to tens of thousands of children throughout India losing access to medical care, meals and tuition.”
There are no meetings scheduled between US Congressman Royce and Modi so far, and officials maintained that this will be the first Modi-Trump meeting and the two leaders will focus on the “big picture”.