Modi himself had been under a US travel ban for years over his record as chief minister of Gujarat in 2002, when Hindu mobs massacred about 1,000 Muslims.
“What is happening in India should set off all alarm bells, whether it is the fear of genocide when it comes to 200 million Muslims, whether it is the repression and obstruction of freedom of expression in the Punjab region,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, one of the few lawmakers to criticize Modi’s leadership publicly called “what happens to the Sikhs”.
“We have seen the terrible human rights violations in Kashmir and what happened to Punjabi farmers,” she said in an interview. “It’s really, really scary to watch and to have an almost unfocused effort here in Washington to address that or even want to talk.”
Instead, the administration and most members of Congress are focused on persuading New Delhi to reduce its dependence on Russia for oil and weapons, and to take on a stronger role in confronting China in the Indo-Pacific region. The White House said Thursday that National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan was in New Delhi last week for talks on “steps to advance the strategic technology and defense partnership between the United States and India.”
“I think the main driver for investing in India and extending this country-wide visit despite disagreements over Russia and backtracking when it comes to religious freedom is really because the Biden administration sees India as an integral part of its strategy in the Indo-Pacific.” Lisa Curtis, senior director for South Asia on the National Security Council during the Trump administration.
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