US Secretary of state Antony Blinken while addressing a joint press conference with his Indian counterpart Subramanyam Jaishankar in New Delhi on 28 July said, “ There are few relationships in the world that are more vital than one between the US and India. We are world’s two leading democracies and our diversity fuels our national strength.
According to the state Department spokesperson Ned Price in his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Blinken discussed the pandemic, security and defence cooperation, including Quad, and shared values and democratic principles.
Blinken in his interaction with civil society leaders said fundamental freedoms and rule of law are tenets of democracies like the US and India.
We believe that all people deserve to have a voice in their government, to be treated with respect, no matter who they are,” Reportedly the two countries have pledged to expand their multilateral security partnership, underscoring the deepening of ties between the two countries over China’s growing influence in the region.
Micheal Kugleman of the Asia Programme at the Washington Wilson Centre commenting on the nature of relationship between US and India in the backdrop of the foregoing outcomes has rightly said “For all the rhetoric trumpeting the shared values that drive partnership, it really boils down to shared interests.
At the end of the day, so long as China’s rise continues to be a common concern, the relationship will have no trouble operating on all cylinders.”
Terming the relationship between US and India based on shared values, principles of democracy and claiming that fundamental freedoms and rule of law were tenets of democracies like the US and India, speaks of sheer hypocrisy on the part of the US.
How can it remain indifferent to the communal and oppressive policies pursued by the Modi government like the Citizens Register in Assam which deprived 1.9 million Bengali Muslims of India citizenship and the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Bill which led to the eruption of riots in New Delhi?
India, admittedly, is currently in the grip of representative fascism. Its suppression of minorities — spurred by the supremacist RSS ideology of ‘Hindutva’ — has turned India into a majoritarian state.
Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in an article published in ‘The Hindu’ on March 6, 2020 while commenting on the state of affairs in India, particularly in the backdrop of riots over the Citizenship Amendment, observed: “Delhi has been subjected to extreme violence over the past few weeks.
We have lost nearly 50 of our fellow Indians for no reason. Several hundred people have suffered injuries.
Communal tension has been stoked and flames of religious intolerance fanned by unruly sections of our society, including the political class.
University campuses, public places and private homes are bearing the brunt of communal outburst of violence, reminiscent of the dark periods in India’s history.
Institutions of law and order have abandoned their dharma to protect citizens. Institutions of justice and the fourth pillar of democracy, the media, have also failed us.
India has slid rapidly from being a global showcase of a model of economic development through liberal democratic methods to a strife-ridden majoritarian state in economic despair”.
Professor of history at Princeton University Gayan Parkash gave his thoughts on the situation in India in the New York Times in these words: “The BJP onslaught is very different [from Indira Gandhi’s emergency in the 1970s] and even more damaging to whatever remains of democracy in India.
A creeping dismantling of the pillars of democracy under Mr Modi, from the coercion and control of the mainstream media to influencing the courts is regarded as an undeclared emergency by the critics.
It is much worse and more damaging in the long term, because the arrests and the denial of bail to detainees is an assault on whatever remains of the institutions of the rule of law.”
The US silence on the killing spree in the Indian Illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) by the Indian security forces since 1989, Indian action to end special status of the state on 5th August 2019, its annexation to the Indian Union and attempts to change demographic realities in the state in defiance of the UN resolutions and 4th Geneva Convention respectively, are enough to explode the myth of democratic values, rule of law and fundamental freedoms espoused by US from every convenient roof-top.
It would not be wrong to say that looking the other way on these developments by US portrays it in very dismal colours, suggesting its insensitivity to human sufferings and fundamental human rights if it serves its self-defined strategic interests.
When it comes to those interests it does not care even about the international conventions and laws to which it is a signatory.
Its agreement with India for transfer of Civilian Nuclear Technology in breach of NPT and the NSG waiver granted to her in violation of the guidelines and principles of the regulatory body, are ranting testimonies to this effect.
The reality is that US was an imperialist power. Humanitarian values, human lives, human rights and moral values have no place in furthering its policy objectives.
It is a country which not only developed nuclear bomb but also used to decimate Hiroshema and Nafgasaki.
It was responsible for millions of deaths in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is one way or the other responsible or connected to the conflicts around the world to implement its imperialist designs.
It really does not behove such a country or a nation to talk of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
— The writer is former Director General Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, based in Islamabad.