Lecturing India on human rights won’t work: Indian American lawmakers

Lecturing India on human rights won't work: Indian American lawmakers

Indian American lawmakers said lecturing in New Delhi on human rights issues is unlikely to work.


The Indian American lawmakers reiterated that they would continue to raise the issue of human rights in India with its leadership, saying on Thursday that lecturing in New Delhi on the issue is unlikely to work and they favored opening a dialogue with the Indian leadership about their concerns with them.

“India was colonized for over 100 years. So when we have a conversation about human rights and you have a conversation with (Secretary of State S) Jai Shankar or somebody, you have to understand that it just comes in. from a perspective of lecturing India When they say we’ve had colonial powers lecture us for hundreds of years, that’s not going to be productive, Congressman Ro Khanna told members of the Indian American community at the Indian American Impact “Desi Decides” summit.

Khanna, who is also the co-chair of the Congressional India Caucus, was joined by three other Indian American lawmakers – Shri Thanedar, Pramila Jayapal and Dr. Ami Bera – during the panel discussion moderated by Zohreen Shah, ABC national correspondent, who asked them about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s relationship with the Muslim community.

“Having a conversation (with India) about saying, here are the imperfections in our democracy, what are the imperfections in your democracy, and how do we collectively promote democracy and human rights, I think is a more constructive approach,” Khanna said.

Bera said he agrees with Khanna. “I have said the same thing to the (Indian) foreign minister. If India loses her secular nation, it changes who she is as a country and how the rest of the world looks at it,” he said.

He also said that a Trump presidency is not necessarily the same as Prime Minister Modi being in power. “Because we still have a vibrant democracy here. We have a vibrant opposition party in the Democratic Party. We still believe in freedom of the press and these are all things that I worry about the future of India,” he said.

“You see what’s happening with freedom of the press. You don’t really see a viable opposition party, or it gets dismantled. Vibrant democracy has to have all those things, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the ability to I hope you never see another Trump- presidency, but if that were to happen, you will see our democracy survive the first time, and our democracy will survive.” Bera said.

Jayapal said she agrees with both Bera and Khanna. “The only thing I would add is that I think we should be able to criticize the imperfections of our own country and the imperfections of any other country. Indeed, that is our job in Congress. We should not lecture, I agree with Roe (Khanna). But we have to think about all the interests of the United States. It is certainly an important partner for us, because of other regional dynamics and global dynamics.

“It is also important for us to think about our values. Just as we criticize the Chinese government for its treatment of Uyghurs or any other country in the world, we also need to be able to look at what is happening in India and draw attention to it, ” she said.

“I know I’ve been called a bad Indian and all sorts of other things for bringing these up. But I just want to say that I’m not going to back down from that because those are the values ​​of the United States. Those are my values. I don’t think it means you don’t value or like or want an India-US partnership to raise legitimate concerns about freedom of religion, freedom of the press and all the other things we see in India more than if we raise it here means that somehow we are bad Americans, no, it is our job to move toward a more perfect union in the United States and with all of our global partnerships,” Jayapal asserted.

Thanedar said he is in favor of a strong India-US relationship. “We need a strong relationship between the US and India. India historically has played both sides, Russia and the US. But it is time for India to commit to a strong friendship with the US and that is something I want to work on. US States have to recognize India’s power, its economic power, and India remains the best solution to counter China’s aggression, so I’m just working on a strong relationship between India and the US,” he said.

(With the exception of the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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