02/19/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – On February 8, the White House released a statement on President Biden’s call with Indian Prime Minister Nardendra Modi, summarizing the topics of the call. The call was largely focused on countering the global pandemic, building the global economy, cooperating on counterterrorism efforts, and committing to democratic institutions. While the Biden administration is still creating foreign policy objectives, it is important that human rights, including international religious freedom, continue to play a key role in American diplomacy.
The Trump administration failed to publically condemn the downward trend of India’s religious freedom conditions. Nevertheless, during a one-on-one conversation with Modi, Trump reportedly challenged the Prime Minister on this topic. Details of that conversation were not made public and many critics of the Modi government voiced concerns over the private nature of the conversation.
The Biden administration has an opportunity to truly lead with U.S. values and challenge Indian leadership on this topic. Initial indicators, however, seem to dictate that the Biden approach to India will be a continuation of that taken by the Trump Administration, with the exception of perhaps more robust rhetoric on the pandemic.
Since Prime Minister Modi took power in 2014, the cases of persecution have skyrocketed as a part of the Hindutva agenda of Modi’s ruling party, the BJP, along with their radical factions, the RSS and VHP. Muslim and Christian communities have been the primary target of the ongoing radical Hindu nationalist agenda that discriminates against all non-Hindu groups. It is important for the international community led by the United States to rally around the oppressed religious groups in India and hold the Modi administration accountable by paying attention to the many Hindus and Hindu organizations speaking out against the Modi Hindutva agenda.
For interviews, contact Alison Garcia: firstname.lastname@example.org