The American Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, began his visit to India, this Wednesday (28), with a warning about the risk of “democratic regression”, at a time when Washington is counting on it more than ever. key ally in Afghanistan and against China.
“The relationship between our two countries is one of the most important in the world,” he said.
On his first visit to India as secretary of state, Blinken met with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar ahead of an upcoming meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At night, head to Kuwait.
Symbolically, the secretary started his journey with a round table with representatives of civil society and different communities. In it, he spoke of “human dignity, equal opportunities, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms, including religious freedom”.
The secretary of state also had a brief meeting with a representative of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, a shift from Donald Trump’s predecessor government.
“Our two democracies are always under construction (…) Sometimes this process is painful, sometimes it’s ugly, but the strength of democracy is to accept it,” said Blinken.
India has been criticized by human rights activists for increasingly using anti-terrorism laws to arrest and silence its opponents.
Despite Prime Minister Modi’s denials, his Hindu nationalist executive is also accused of promoting legislation that discriminates against the Muslim minority of 170 million people.
For this reason, Antony Blinken warned of “democratic regression” and considered it “vital that the two largest democracies in the world remain united in support of these ideals”.
Trump was accused of ignoring certain excesses of Narendra Modi. His successor, Democrat Joe Biden, placed at the center of his foreign policy the constitution of an alliance of democracies against the “autocracy” embodied, according to him, by China.
In return, India is asking for the same support given by the Trump government when there were deadly clashes last year between India and China on its Himalayan border.
“If Biden’s United States have reservations about backing India openly against China, how can they expect India to work with the United States to contain China? There has to be reciprocity,” said Brahma Chellaney, professor at the think tank Delhi Center for Policy Research.
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