Secretary Blinken Needs to Challenge Modi’s Religious Freedom Record

07/27/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting India this week, a trip that will include meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other high-level officials. The agenda currently includes strategic regional discussion on China containment and the Quad partnership, composed of the United States, India, Australia, and Japan. Also included on the agenda is India’s declining record regarding the treatment of religious minorities. While not a top priority for the meeting, this discussion must be addressed directly with Prime Minister Modi.

The decline of religious freedom in India has not received enough global condemnation. The Secretary has a unique opportunity to hold India accountable for the targeting Christians, Muslims, and other religious minorities through policy posturing.

The National Citizenship Amendment Act, state level anti-conversion laws and systemic impunity enjoyed by Hindutva radicals must be a central point of criticism. India should support strong institutional change and cultivate pluralism and genuine religious freedom in the country. Hindutva narratives demonize Christians and Muslims must be condemned by the Modi administration and Modi should develop stronger multifaith frameworks.

India can lead in the region and set the tone in religious freedom for neighboring countries. The current trend emphasizes societal religious divisions and plays to the hand of more severe human rights violators like neighboring Pakistan. India must lead and set the tone for religious freedom in South Asia.

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