White House won’t confirm if Joe Biden will ‘press’ PM Modi on rights of Muslims

U.S. President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File. | Photo Credit: AP

Asked whether U.S. President Joe Biden would press Prime Minister Narendra Modi “to protect” India’s Muslims, when the two meet virtually in July at a summit, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not say he would, but said that President had “no problem” talking human rights with foreign leaders.

“He [Mr. Biden] has no problem talking to leaders about humanitarian rights, about freedoms, about the importance of democracy. This is something that the President has done in the past. I can’t speak to, specifically, what’s going to be on the agenda and what their conversation is going to be,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said, at the White House briefing on Wednesday.

She also said that Mr. Biden was a “straight shooter” and speaks “very frankly”.

“And when it comes to humanitarian rights, has no problem having those direct conversations — leader-leader conversations,” she said.

Ms. Pierre was also asked if the White House had a comment on Indian authorities demolishing the houses of those protesting against comments made against the Prophet. She did not answer the question.

Properties of individuals allegedly involved in protests have been bulldozed, including in BJP-ruled States like Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, as well as in Delhi, without the permission of courts. Mr. Modi has not, so far, publicly commented on the incidents. The U.P. government told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the bulldozers were used on illegally constructed sites and not in retaliation for participation in protests.

The Prime Minister and President Biden are expected to meet virtually during Mr. Biden’s July 13-16 trip to West Asia. The leaders will meet at a virtual ‘I2U2’ summit - a four country group comprised of India, Israel, the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Mr. Modi is also attending the Group of Seven (G7) meeting in Schloss Elmau, Germany, on June 26-27, where Mr. Biden will also be present.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2022 7:30:32 am |