voice for democracy

US official meets India's envoy, Modi likely to attend Biden's virtual 'Summit for Democracy' – Deccan Herald

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi likely to take part in a virtual “Summit for Democracy” that President Joe Biden will host next month, a senior United States official had a meeting with New Delhi’s envoy to Washington DC, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, on Tuesday and discussed values shared by the two nations.
Sandhu and the US Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, Uzra Zeya, had the meeting at the India House in Washington DC.
The meeting took place just days after Zeya had a virtual meeting with the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which recently expressed concern over violence against Muslims in Tripura. The USCIRF – an independent, bipartisan US federal government commission – on November 5 also reiterated its plea to the Biden Administration to designate India – along with Russia, Lebanon and Vietnam – as a “Country of Particular Concern” in view of the impact of the policies implemented by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s government in New Delhi on the religious freedom of the minority Muslims, Sikhs and Christians as well as of the Dalits and the Adivasis.
Also Read | The case of India’s falling indices 
Sandhu tweeted that he and Zeya discussed the “diverse facets of strong India-US partnership built on shared values”.
Zeya thanked India’s ambassador to the US for the “enriching discussion” on how the two democracies could deliver for their citizens and the world.
The meeting between Sandhu and Zeya took place even as the Biden Administration started preparations for the virtual “Summit for Democracy”, which the US President would host on December 9 and 10.
The summit, according to the US State Department, will focus on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for the participating leaders to make both individual and collective commitments to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad.
Also Read | Global democracy under attack despite Biden push 
Zeya, who is playing a key role in organizing the summit, discussed with Sandhu the preparations for the conclave.
The US will also host a second “Summit for Democracy” next year to review the progress achieved against the commitments that would be made in the first summit.
The Biden Administration has been tacitly conveying to the Modi Government concerns in the US over the perception that India was backsliding on human rights and freedom of speech and religion.
The US President as well as his Vice President Kamala Harris subtly nudged the Prime Minister to protect the democratic principles of India, when they had hosted him in Washington DC on September 24. The issue came up for discussion when External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, hosted his counterpart the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, in New Delhi in July.
The Modi Government, however, defended its track record in protecting democratic principles, human rights and religious freedom.
The US conveyed to India that the summit on December 9 and 10 would showcase one of the unique strengths of democracy – the ability to acknowledge its weaknesses and imperfections and confront them openly and transparently.
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