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Antony Blinken in India: Talks about CAA, love-jihad and farmers’ protest

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date
Antony Blinken in India: Talks about CAA, love-jihad and farmers’ protest

New Delhi: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is in India on a two-day visit, on Wednesday, hold talks on wide-ranging issues, including CAA, love jihad and farmers protests as he met with a group of people that included a civil society representatives of Dalai Lama, in what is seen as a strong message to China. Mr Blinken also met Ajit Doval, S. Jaishankar. During the talks on wide-ranging issues, Dr Jaishankar highlighted cooperation against the pandemic and deepening expansion of India-US cooperation under Quad.

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Ngodup Dongchung serves as a representative of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), also known as the Tibetan government in exile. “I was pleased to meet civil society leaders today. The US and India share a commitment to democratic values; this is part of the bedrock of our relationship and reflective of India”s pluralistic society and history of harmony. Civil society helps advance these values,” he tweeted.

Sources stated Tibet was circuitously raised in the course of the assembly, however the lack of progress in China’s dialogue on the problem was mentioned on the round-table which included Geshe Dorji Damdul, the Delhi-based Director of Tibet Home. Whereas representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Authority or “authorities in exile” have met with U.S. diplomats up to now, the presence of Mr. Damdul within the assembly with Indian civil society with the U.S. Secretary of State in Delhi is a primary.

Throughout the 45-minute dialogue, Mr. Blinken obtained views from the assorted representatives on the standing of non secular freedom, together with the Citizenship (Modification) Act (CAA) handed by the Modi authorities and anti-conversion (love-jihad) legal guidelines handed by some States, which have drawn worldwide criticism. Different present points, together with the arrest of journalists and the latest revelations of a listing of journalists and activists believed to be beneath surveillance utilizing Israeli Pegasus software program, have been additionally mentioned. As well as, the issues of farmers protesting at Delhi’s borders over the agriculture reform legal guidelines handed final yr have been a part of the dialog, said sources.

“We had a really helpful dialogue on every part that’s taking place within the nation. India is passing via an ideologically transitional section, and it’s time for a more in-depth engagement between those that maintain secularism and people who maintain Hindutva near their hearts, not battle and confrontation. The minorities should additionally have interaction with the bulk group on this,” stated Dr. Ahmed, whose ebook The assembly of minds: a bridging initiative was launched by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat earlier this month, when requested concerning the assembly.

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Ahead of the talks, Mr Blinken reaffirmed the rule of law and fundamental freedoms including freedom of religion as being the bedrock of democracies like India and the US. “The Indian people and the American people believe in human dignity and equality of opportunity, the rule of law, fundamental freedoms including freedom of religion and belief . . . these are the fundamental tenets of democracies like ours,” he said today, speaking to a group of civil society leaders at a hotel in New Delhi.

In his talks with the Foreign Minister Mr Blinken stressed on the need for “cooperation among countries than ever before”. “There isn’t a challenge that doesn’t have impact on the lives of our citizens whether it’s Covid, disruptive impact of emerging technologies, that can be addressed by any one of us acting alone.” He also said that US President Joe Biden is determined to strengthen India-US ties.

He will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi this evening. Before meeting Dr Jaishankar, Mr Blinken held talks with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on a range of bilateral and regional issues including the security situation in Afghanistan.

The US said it backs India’s emergence as a leading global power and a vital partner to make the Indo-Pacific a region of stability and economic inclusion. Sources in the government have said issues such as human rights and democracy are universal and extend beyond a particular national or cultural perspective.

India and the US also discussed the worsening security situation in Afghanistan with the Taliban increasing its hostilities in an attempt to seize control of new areas in the country.

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This is Mr Blinken’s first visit to the country since joining President Joe Biden’s administration and the third by a high-ranking Biden administration official after it came to power in January.

During this visit, the US intends to also focus on “shared democratic values” with India though details of this have not been spelt out so far.  In March this year, the US Secretary of Defence General Lloyd Austin shared concerns flagged about the “deteriorating situation of the democracy in India.”

New Delhi is Mr Blinken’s first stop in his two-nation tour. He will fly to Kuwait from India.

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