During the Congress era, India used to be on constant watchlist of the USA. The meek government never countered them and instead felt proud in conforming to their standards. After PM Modi came to power, he instantly made the USA realise India’s power. In 2014, PM Modi dominated every supranational forum including UNGA and G20. 8 years later, the tone set by PM Modi is bearing fruit and unwillingly, India is in a position to jackhammer the internal election formula of the USA.
Blinken does it again
For the second time in 2022, the USA tried to defame India’s social fabric. Anthony Blinken, US Secretary of state was recently lecturing the world about how his country is trying to protect religious freedom all around the world. But, he committed a fatal mistake of dragging India into his moral lessons.
Presenting his remarks on the state department’s annual report on international religious freedom, Biden’s toady said, “In India, the world’s largest democracy and home to a great diversity of faiths, we have seen rising attacks on people and places of worship”. The arrogance of this unelected bureaucrat was so high that he put India in the same category as that of China, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and even Taliban ruled Afghanistan.
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Dragged Indian officials into the issue
Even after so much, the situation could be called under control as Blinken targeted India as a nation. Frankly, it is a routine affair and the Modi administration generally does not take them seriously. After all, the US government does not know one bit about India. But, then Rassad Hussain, US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom jumped onto the anti-India bandwagon. He however decided to pull the Indian government into the issue.
Accusing Indian state of assisting religious attacks, Rassad foolishly remarked, “As the Secretary stated, in India some officials are ignoring or even supporting rising attacks on people and places of worship”
The remark by Rassad was faulty for two reasons. Firstly, it was a factual lie that any government officials ever helped anyone to attack someone’s place of worship. Secondly, these kinds of state supported religious intervention occur only in Islamic nations like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran among others. It is not in the ethos of India for any public servant to engage in such kind of behaviour.
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India’s fierce retort to Biden administration
That is why India did not take those comments lightly. Arindam Bagchi, well equipped spokesperson of India’s External Affairs Ministry termed US officials as ill-informed. “We have noted the release of the US State Department 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom, and ill-informed comments by senior US officials,…” said Bagchi.
India then went a step further and laid down the underlying currents of US’ comments on India. Stating that the Biden administration is trying to play vote bank politics, Bagchi added, “It is unfortunate that vote bank politics is being practised in international relations. We would urge that assessments based on motivated inputs and biased views be avoided,…”
Why did Biden do that?
Bagchi’s comment is extremely well-informed and is based on in-depth study of dynamics affecting the Biden administration. Within the next 6 months, the USA is going for midterm elections. The Biden administration is worried about that. In the last one and a half year, it has wrecked the country. No policy has even been popular. Its vaccine mandate was on the verge of dividing the country. Similarly, in the wake of its stupidity in the Russia-Ukraine war, already bad inflation has worsened and American mothers are now unable to feed their babies. Now, his administration’s attempts to take the people’s guns may end up creating civil war in the country.
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Electorally, Biden is bruised, beaten and unable to pick himself up. The natural course of action is resorting to tribalism. Biden is doing just that. He is trying to win votes of Islamist lobby in USA. According to a study, Islam is slated to be second largest religion in USA after 2040. So, targeting India feeds into future plans of Democrats as well.
India’s cheeky remarks
But, India is not in a mood to let it go. Rebutting the USA in its own merry way, India raised the issue of various kinds of violence grappling the USA. These include racial and ethnic attacks as well. India said, “As a naturally pluralistic society, India values religious freedom and human rights. In our discussions with the US, we have regularly highlighted issues of concern there, including racially and ethnically motivated attacks, hate crimes and gun violence.”
But, we have some advice for the Modi government. Blinken and his masters are not going to learn their lessons so easily. They are still living in a colonial hangover. We have to keep pounding over such rebuttals on them. It may take time, but it is certainly worth doing.