NDTV journalist Vishnu Som once again tried to peddle his and his network’s agenda of shaming India and the central government by claiming that US Secretary of Defense Llyod Austin had a conversation on Human Rights with his Indian counterpart before departing for the US. However, ANI, quoting high-level Indian sources has quashed those reports and once again caused a ‘facepalm’ moment for Som and his team.
Vishnu Som took to Twitter to present his version of the events where he said that Austin did have a conversation on human rights with a cabinet minister.
“In a select briefing in New Delhi before departing, US @SecDef Lloyd Austin says he did have a conversation on human rights with a cabinet minister, partners need to be able to have that kind of conversation in a meaningful way.” tweeted the NDTV journo on March 20.
However, a day later, ANI reported that there was no discussion of human rights in India with US Defence Secretary. According to the report, human rights and values were mentioned as shared attributes and the only mention of minorities was by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in the context of Afghanistan.
News channels like NDTV had tried their best to elicit some sort of controversial response from Llyod, but like his predecessors, the Secretary of Defense skilfully dodged the questions.
Som went so far as to ask General Austin whether he shared the concerns of Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, about “the deteriorating situation of democracy in India”.
To which Lloyd Austin replied, “You’ve heard President Biden say that human rights and rule of law are important to the United States of America. We always lead with our values. As a democracy that’s pretty important to us. India is a democratic country and you treasure your values as well. There are a number of things that we can and will work on together.”
Llyod added that the US valued India’s partnership. “I think partners need to be able to have those kinds of discussions. And certainly we feel comfortable doing that. And you can have those discussions in a very meaningful way and make progress,”
Austin, who is on a three-day official visit to India, met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday and had delegation-level talks at Vigyan Bhawan. He had earlier met PM Narendra Modi and NSA Ajit Doval on Friday. However, by rebuffing NDTV’s hyena like advances, Llyod has given a reality check to the ‘Lutyen’s Delhi owned media channel’ that its glory days are in the past and that twisting the narrative which used to work earlier, cannot happen now.