The United States honours Indian democracy as they have a robust debate inside the country on the issues like citizenship and religious freedom, a top American diplomat said in a report by PTI.
“We care deeply and always will about protecting minorities and religious rights everywhere. We honour Indian democracy as they have a robust debate on the issue that you raised,” Pompeo told reporters at a news conference here at the conclusion of the 2+2 ministerial talks.
Pompeo along with the Defense Secretary Mark Esper hosted their Indian counterparts External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh for the talks.
Washington DC: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with United States Secretary of State,Mike Pompeo and US Defense Secretary Mark Esper at second India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. (Earlier visuals) pic.twitter.com/napVWGP28V
— ANI (@ANI) December 18, 2019
The top American diplomat was responding to a question on the protests by a section of society in India after the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act, alleging that this is religiously discriminatory in nature.
“Mr Secretary, your State Department has been a very vocal advocate of religious rights around the world. Do you think it appropriate for democracy to use faith as a determining criteria for citizenship,” he was asked.
“The question that you asked relating to India, if you had followed the debate on that particular legislation carefully, you would see that it is a measure which is designed to address the needs of persecuted religious minorities from certain countries,” Jaishankar said in his response to the question.
“If you look at what those countries are and therefore what their minorities are, perhaps you understand why certain religions were identified in terms of characterising those who had come across,” Jaishankar said.
Pompeo said the United States has been consistent in the way that it has responded to these issues, not only in India but all across the world.
Officials, so far, has not confirmed or denied if the issue of religious freedom and human rights in India appeared during the 2+2 talks.
Morgan Ortagus, US State Department Spokesperson on US-India 2+2 Dialogue, said : “India is someone credibly important to us in a number of institutions around the world & the relationship is very important in the President Trump’s Indo-Pacific strategy.
Morgan Ortagus, US State Department Spokesperson on US-India 2+2 Dialogue: India is someone credibly important to us in a number of institutions around the world & the relationship is very important in the President Trump’s Indo-Pacific strategy. https://t.co/QqWzgmtUuw pic.twitter.com/D5kIeb7k20
— ANI (@ANI) December 19, 2019
In the past, the Secretary of States had raised the issue of human rights and religious freedom with their Indian counterparts in their bilateral meetings.