The Big StoryMarch 19, 2021
00:20:0718.45 MB

Does India Need to Reconsider it Approach to Foreign Critics?

On the eve of US Secretary of Defence Lloyd J. Austin visit to India, the Chairman of US Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SRFC) Bob Menendez urged Secretary Austin to raise concerns about India’s “deteriorating situation of democracy”

Secretary Austin’s visit, which started on 19 March, is the maiden visit by a high-ranking member of President Joe Biden administration and is expected to meet Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and other senior national officials.

In this letter to Austin, Menendez noted “getting the US-India partnership right is critical to addressing 21st-century challenges, and that includes urging the Indian government to uphold democratic values and human rights.” 

The criticism is certainly not the latest comment on India’s democracy, the most recent coming from a US-based human rights watchdog Freedom House which slated India from “Free” to “Partly Free” in its annual report on global political rights and liberties.

The Centre termed the Freedom House report as “misleading, incorrect, and misplaced.” Minister Jaishankar further slammed the report and called out the outlets for their “hypocrisy”

The letter from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is a very influential government body on US foreign policy, does raise questions on how the Centre should handle criticism from external bodies and governments and where its response is warranted. 

Host and Producer: Himmat Shaligram
Vivek Katju, former Secretary (West, Ministry of External Affairs
Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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