India a vibrant democracy, go to Delhi and see for yourself: White House
India is a vibrant democracy and anybody who happens to go to New Delhi can see that for themselves, the White House said on Monday (June 5), while dismissing concerns about the health of democracy in India.
The statement comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the US later this month.
“India is a vibrant democracy. Anybody that, you know, happens to go to New Delhi can see that for themselves. And certainly, I would expect that strength and health of democratic institutions will be part of the discussion,” John Kirby, coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House, told reporters at a news conference.
Kirby’s statement also comes in the backdrop of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the US. Rahul during his lectures and speeches on various forums has pointed to the “collapse” of the Indian democracy under the Narendra Modi regime, while stressing that the situation will have a debilitating impact on the world.
“Look, we never shy away. And you can do that with friends. You’re supposed to do that with friends. You never shy away from expressing concerns that we might have with anyone around the world. But this (State) visit is really about advancing what is now and what we hope will be a deeper, stronger partnership and friendship going forward,” Kirby said in response to a question.
Stating that India is a strong partner with US on many levels, Kirby hinted that the two countries may deliberate on more defence and trade deals during the upcoming visit of the Indian prime minister.
“You saw that in Shangri-La Secretary (of Defense, Lloyd) Austin announced some additional defense cooperation now that were going to pursue with India. Of course, there’s an awful lot of economic trade between our two countries. India is a member of the Pacific Quad and a key friend and partner with respect to Indo-Pacific security,” he said.
“I could go on and on and on. There are innumerable reasons why India certainly matters, not just bilaterally between the two of our nations, but multilaterally on very many levels. And the president is looking forward very much to having Prime Minister Modi here to talk about all those issues and to advance and deepen that partnership and that friendship,” Kirby said.
(With inputs from agencies)