Alleged Rise in Abuses-
On April 11, 2022, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the US government was investigating alleged cases of human rights abuses taking place in India.
“We regularly engage with our Indian partners on these shared values (of human rights) and to that end, we are monitoring some recent concerning developments in India including a rise in human rights abuses by some government, police and prison officials,” Blinken stated on April 11, at a joint press briefing with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.
Blinken did not expand on his comments. Singh and Jaishankar spoke after Blinken but did not make any comments about the human rights question.
India’s gestures of neutrality with regards to the Russo-Ukrainian conflict have not been well received by Washington DC diplomats.
Blinken’s remarks likely reflect growing annoyance among the American Deep State with India’s refusal to condemn, let alone take punitive actions against, Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
According to a report by Reuters, Blinken’s comments came a few days following Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s statement about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged mistreatment of Muslims in India.
.”What does Modi need to do to India’s Muslim population before we will stop considering them a partner in peace?” Omar inquired last week.
Modi’s government is criticized heavily by the DC foreign policy blob for its nationalist leanings. Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won in the 2014 Indian general election, Modi’s government and state governments controlled by the BJP have pushed Hindutva, a controversial strain of Indian nationalism.
Back in 2019, the Indian government received international criticism for passing a law that barred Muslim migrants from neighboring countries from attaining Indian citizenship. Critics argued that this law was an affront to India’s constitution which purportedly protects religious freedom.
This law’s intent was to grant Indian nationality to Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Parsis and Sikhs who fled South Asian nations Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan before 2015.
The US’s current beef with India is a curious case. The US is trying to recruit it in a balancing coalition against China in a broader containment effort. Trying to alienate India over its neutrality over Russia could backfire for US foreign policymakers.
The US taking punitive actions against India could either push it more into China’s arms, or at least, make it less enthusiastic about confronting China. In the latter case, India will only challenge China when it comes to border issues or any encroachments it makes in the Indian Ocean or within the Indian subcontinent. However, it may not be so keen about confronting China when it comes to human rights, which the West obsesses about, or moves China makes well outside of India’s sphere of influence.