Narendra Modi in the US
PM Modi arrived in New York on June 20. Photo: Twitter/PMO India

India, US will continue to work on bilateral relationship: White House

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Praising India for its vibrant democracy, US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby on Tuesday (June 20) said that India like the US was a vibrant democracy and the two nations were going to continue to work on their bilateral relationship.

Kirby made the comments while addressing a news conference in Washington on the eve of PM Modi’s state visit.

PM Modi is on four-day a state visit to the United States beginning June 21 at the invitation of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. The first couple will host the Indian prime minister at a state dinner at the White House on June 22. The visit also includes an address by Modi to a joint session of the US Congress on June 22. He is currently in New York.

“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,” Kirby said. “India has a vibrant democracy, and they, too, work at it. No democracy at any given point in time reaches perfection,” he added.

Also read: Modi discusses India’s reforms trajectory with top US thought leaders

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”, 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,” Kirby added.

In response to a question, 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.

Kirby said the US 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.

(With agency inputs)

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