US Media Lambasts Modi: Criticism Mounts Over Indian Prime Minister

Human Rights in Focus: US Media's Critical Coverage of Modi Visit Puts Spotlight on Leadership and Humanitarian Concerns


Source: Reuters

Written by Arpit and Aradhya

The US media forced the Prime Minister of the largest democracy in the world who has never held a press conference in his own nation to respond to a query.

When asked by the Wall Street Journal on the alleged persecution of Muslims, human rights violations and democracy in India, Modi said, “I am surprised that people say…it’s not that people say, India is a democracy…and both India and America have democracy in their DNA.”

On human rights and free speech, Modi said, “there is no discrimination in India’s democratic values, neither on the basis of religion, nor on the basis of caste, nor on the basis of age”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's trip to the US has dominated the news. The most anticipated activities of the trip took place on June 22, including Modi's high-level bilateral meetings with US President Joe Biden, his address to the US Congress and the lavish state luncheon at the White House.

But in light of extensive criticism of India's human rights situation, how has the Western media seen Biden's acceptance of Modi?

The New York Times: ‘Mark the day: Modi fielded live questions from the press’

The NYT emphasized how Modi has consistently denied wrongdoing, as is obvious from his responses to the questions about India's democracy and human rights condition that were raised earlier. It also highlighted how the prime minister and his government have dominated the media ever since he came to power.

Aside from that, it mentioned how Gujarat broke into widespread riots in 2002, and how Modi was accused of looking away or even enabling Hindu mobs who went on deadly rampages in Muslim neighborhoods."

Mr. Modi has consistently denied all wrongdoing. He has, however, also stated in the open that his biggest shortcoming at the time was his inability to manage the media a goal he has since zealously pursued.

The New Yorker: ‘What Joe Biden Didn’t Say to Narendra Modi’

It stated "The visit of Modi has predictably drawn attention to his autocratic tendencies at home and served as a reminder of the tradeoffs inherent in Biden's foreign policy."

It said that "It's far from clear whether the accommodations to Modi were worth it." The author of this statement was referring to Modi's silence over the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the fact that he did not even acknowledge that it was Russia that started the war.

The New Yorker didn't miss an opportunity to criticize the Indian prime minister while also highlighting the "perilous state of America's own democracy."

A brief press conference that wasn't a press conference was used to describe the press meeting with Modi.

Los Angeles Times: ‘Why Is Biden Silent on Modi and India’s Slide Toward Autocracy?’

India’s democracy is in danger. There is no sound moral, political or economic case for President Biden and other democratic leaders to pretend this isn’t happening, said Los Angeles Times, on June 20, ahead of the joint press conference of Modi and Biden.

The exploitation of national law enforcement organizations to persecute politicians was also discussed in the piece. In essence, it is reported in various reports that these agencies are employed to target activists, journalists, and anybody else who speaks out against the current government.

“The infamous Enforcement Directorate has increased investigations of political leaders by 400% since Modi came to power, with 95% of those targeted hailing from the opposition. And all this has been in service of a Hindu nationalist regime that can be menacing to minorities. Hate crimes against Muslims are up 300% since Modi came to power and new legislation threatens to disenfranchise a large percentage of the country’s 200 million Muslims,” it said.

The Atlantic: ‘Indian Dissidents Have Had It With America Praising Modi’

The piece emphasized the need for global criticism. For instance, it stated that "both Biden and Kamala Harris condemned Indian actions towards Kashmir during the 2020 presidential race. According to Trump, Modi is working very hard on religious freedom.16 days after the former two lawmakers assumed their positions, New Delhi lifted the internet blackout.

Another journalist told the author that the US should set a positive example by taking on Hindu nationalists in the US.

Politico: ‘Biden Is Happy to Throw Modi an Esteemed Dinner. And Bite His Lip About Human Rights.’

“Despite its wariness of Modi, the US has looked to New Delhi as a rising economic partner and a bulwark against China’s dominance in the region,” said Politico.

The report said that "the US feels it has no choice but to continue to court Modi as an essential bulwark on the far side of the globe as India overtook China as the most populous country in the world and its booming economy attracted international investments.

It emphasized the value of India-US relations in terms of containing China.

The administration thinks that India's biggest contribution could be to balance China. Long standing tensions exist between China and India. In order to strengthen democracy's position in the Pacific, the US promoted India to the Quad alliance, together with Australia and Japan, and encouraged New Delhi to act as a buffer against Xi Jinping's economic and territorial ambitions, it added.

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