'Vote Bank Politics' In International Ties Unfortunate: MEA On 'Ill-Informed' Remarks By US Officials On India's Religious Freedom

by Swarajya Staff - Jun 4, 2022 09:26 AM +05:30 IST
'Vote Bank Politics' In International Ties Unfortunate: MEA On 'Ill-Informed' Remarks By US Officials On India's Religious FreedomMEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi

Irked by "ill-informed" remarks of US officials after release of State Department's report on religious freedom across the world, India on Friday (3 June) slammed the United States for using "vote bank politics" in international relations.

In response to media queries regarding the release of US State Department 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom, the Official Spokesperson Shri Arindam Bagchi said, "We have noted the release of the U.S. State Department 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom, and ill informed comments by senior US officials".

"It is unfortunate that vote bank politics is being practiced in international relations," he added.

"We would urge that assessments based on motivated inputs and biased views be avoided," the MEA spokesperson said.

"As a naturally pluralistic society, India values religious freedom and human rights. In our discussions with the US, we have regularly highlighted issues of concern there, including racially and ethnically motivated attacks, hate crimes and gun violence," he added.

In a press conference on Thursday (2 June), US State Department officials expressed concerns about the state of religious minorities in several countries including India.

"We remain concerned about members of religious minority groups in countries around the world, including in Afghanistan, Burma, the People’s Republic of China, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Vietnam," US ambassador-at-large for International religious freedom Rashad Hussain said after release of the report.

Hussain also expressed concerned about alleged targeting of religious communities in India.

"We are concerned with targeting of a number of religious communities in India, including Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindu dalits, and indigenous communities as well," said Hussain.

He went on to claim that government officials are not only ignoring the 'rising' attacks on people in places of worship but even supporting them.

"In India, we’re concerned that some officials are ignoring or even supporting rising attacks on people in places of worship. And as I mentioned earlier in the briefing, there’s a number of religious communities that are being targeted.

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