Imran Yaqub Dhillon New York
The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations asked the Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin to “raise democracy and human rights concerns” in his discussions with the Indian government during his upcoming trip.
Austin is scheduled to meet his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit K Doval during his visit to New Delhi between March 19 and March 21.
The letter from US Senator Bob Menendez, the committee’s chairperson, said that the relationship between the two countries was at its strongest when based on “shared democratic values” .
“The Indian government has been trending away from those values,” it said. “I also expect that you will raise the administration’s opposition to India’s reportedly planned purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, which threatens future US-India defense cooperation and puts India at risk of sanctions under Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. The letter noted the Indian government’s action against farmers protesting against the new laws touted as reformatory for the agriculture sector.