A big setback in bilateral relations between India and the United States
WASHINGTON - India’s foreign minister abruptly cancelled a meeting with senior members of the US Congress, after American lawmakers refused to exclude a congresswoman who has criticised Modi’s policies in Indian Occupied Kashmir, reported The Washington Post.
During his visit to Washington, India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar scheduled a meeting with members of the US Congress but Indian officials informed the committee that Jaishankar would cancel the meeting if Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal was attending.
Jayapal has co-sponsored a resolution urging India to lift the communication blockade in occupied Kashmir.
“This only furthers the idea that the Indian government isn’t willing to listen to any dissent at all,” she said.
“The seriousness of this moment should’ve been a reason for a conversation, not dictating who’s in the meeting, which seems very petty.”
Days after the controversial new citizenship law was passed in India – offering citizenship rights to Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Parsi and Jain communities migrating from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, but excluding Muslims – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Jaishankar.
After the meeting, Pompeo expressed concern for minorities everywhere. “We care deeply and always will about protecting minorities, protecting religious rights everywhere,” he said.
Regarding the anti-Muslim law, Jayapal said it “adds a whole level of complexity to India as a secular democracy – one of the greatest prides of the country”.