U.S. Secretary Of Defence General Lloyd: Discussed Human Rights issues with Indian Ministers

By Rabia Shireen

U.S. Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin said that he had a conversation with Indian ministers about the country’s human rights issues during his talks on Saturday. He stated that it was important for partners to have “these kinds of discussions.”

General Austin met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. He said that at no point in the last year did the U.S. administration feel that India and China were at the war threshold.

Asked by an American journalist at a news conference in Delhi if he raised the issue of “violation of human rights especially against Muslim minorities in the northeast,” during his talk with the Prime Minister, Austin said he did not get an opportunity to talk with him regarding that. But I did have a conversation with other members of the cabinet on this issue.”

He added, “We have to remember that India is our partner, a partner whose partnership we value, And I think partners need to have that kind of discussion and certainly feel comfortable doing it. We can have those discussions in a meaningful way.”

He explained that President Joe Biden had said that human rights and the rule of law is essential to the U.S. “We always lead with our values, and as a democracy, that is very important. India is a democratic country, and you treasure your values as well. There are several things that we can and will work on together.” he said.

General Austin is the first top-level member of U.S. President Biden’s administration to travel to India.

American Senator, Robert Menendez, the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a letter to Austin, urged him to raise concerns about human rights issues during his visit to New Delhi with Indian officials.

US-Indian relations have been significantly sensitive, but China’s growing aggression in the region forced them closer together under PM Modi and former U.S. President Donald Trump. India had pointed to the January 6 Capitol Hill violence after U.S remarked on the farmers’ protests.

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