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US expects continued close ties, human rights talks with India after elections

By The Straitstimes

June 5, 2024

Credits @FFHR.CZ

WASHINGTON - The US said on June 4 it expects continued close ties, along with discussions on human rights concerns, with India after elections in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi looked set to retain power but with a surprisingly slim majority.

Mr Modi looked set to retain power at the head of a ruling coalition but his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party lost its outright majority for the first time in a decade as voters defied predictions of another landslide.

"I expect a continued close partnership between the US and India. There is a great partnership - both at the government level and at the people-to-people level - and I fully expect that to continue," a State Department spokesperson told reporters.

In 2023, during a visit by Mr Modi to the US, the two countries announced a range of agreements on semiconductors, critical minerals, technology, defence and space cooperation.

The State Department also said it will continue raising human rights concerns. While there has been occasional criticism by Washington, political analysts say it is restrained in public criticism because it hopes India will act as a counterweight to an expansionist China.

"When we have concerns about human rights, as we have in India, we express those openly. We express them directly to the government of India. We have done that and we'll continue to do it, as we do with countries all around the world," the State Department spokesperson added.

The government under Mr Modi denies discriminating against minorities and dissidents, and says it works for the benefit of all Indians.

Human rights advocates contest this. They point to a rise in anti-Muslim hate speech, the revoking of Muslim-majority Kashmir's special status, a citizenship law that the UN calls "fundamentally discriminatory," the demolition of Muslim properties in the name of removing illegal construction and India's low rank in the World Press Freedom Index. REUTERS


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