The strategic partnership with the United States is secondary to the welfare and security of the U.S.-based Indian-origin people, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Monday. Speaking in the Rajya Sabha in response to questions from the Left leaders, Ms. Swaraj did not rule out the racial angle to the attacks that have taken place in recent weeks in various parts of the U.S.
“For us, strategic partnership with the United States is secondary and the first priority is to ensure safety and security for the members of the Indian-origin people in the United States. We will always work to ensure safety of the Indian community first,” said Ms. Swaraj.
“Investigations are going on and these investigations will reveal the causes behind these acts,” Ms. Swaraj noted, emphasising that she was voicing the opinion of the Indian government regarding the recent attacks that killed two Indians and injured two others.
“I have not ruled out racial aspect. Both in the case of Srinivas (Kuchibhotla) and others I have urged them to investigate the racial angle. But I believe that these attacks do not represent the majority sentiment of the American people to the Indian community living there,” Ms. Swaraj said even as the members cheered to her reply.
The ministerial response comes in the backdrop of a series of attacks that have killed two Indian-origin people and left two others injured. Ms. Swaraj expressed confidence in the investigations underway to find the cause behind the attacks. “The U.S. has said that it will not allow these attacks against Indian people to become a trend” Ms. Swaraj said even as Left leaders like D. Raja of CPI and Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M) questioned her for more official clarity.
This is the second time that Ms. Swaraj had spoken about the attacks against Indians that began soon after the arrival of President Donald Trump in the White House. Speaking in the Lok Sabha last week, Ms. Swaraj, in her first remarks since returning to office after medical treatment, had highlighted the people-to-people contact between the U.S. and India.
Both the responses covered the brutal killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla — an IT professional based in suburb of Olathe, Kansas City —by a man who shouted at him to “go back to your country” on February 22. The incident, which left Kuchibhotla’s colleague injured, also left an American Ian Grillot grievously injured. Ms. Swaraj had praised Mr. Grillot for his bravery in her public statements.
On March 2, another Indian-origin U.S. citizen Harnish Patel was killed. The attack on March 4 left Deep Rai injured.