India like the U.S. is a vibrant democracy and the two nations are going to continue to work on their bilateral relationship, the White House said amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi's State Visit.
PM Modi is visiting the U.S. from June 21-24 at the invitation of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, who will host him at a State Dinner on June 22. The visit also includes an address by the Prime Minister to the joint session of the U.S. Congress on June 22. He is currently in New York.
National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told a news conference in Washington on Tuesday that: "Democracy is tough. We know that. We have seen it firsthand here in this country. It is tough, you have got to work at it."
"India has a vibrant democracy, and they, too, work at it. No democracy at any given point in time reaches perfection," he said.
The idea of democracy is that "you try to become more perfect... So we are going to continue to work on this bilateral relationship between these two vibrant, relevant, strong, and influential democracies in the world to improve the relationship", Mr. Kirby said.
That means that in doing so, "we are also going to have conversations, we can have and we need to have somewhat uncomfortable conversations with our partners and our friends and our allies", he said.
"That is what you can do when you have, when you are partners and friends and allies, is have conversations about uncomfortable issues," Mr. Kirby said.
In response to a question, Mr. Kirby said President Biden raises concerns over human rights wherever he goes around the world and whatever leaders he is speaking to.
"Human rights are a foundational element of this (Biden) administration's foreign policy, and you can certainly expect that the President will, as he always does and as you can do with friends and partners like Prime Minister Modi in India, raise our concerns about that," he said.
Mr. Kirby said the U.S. routinely raises human rights concerns with its friends, allies, partners and even nations that it is not so friendly with. "We are not bashful about raising those concerns, and we will continue to do that," he said.