Expressing concerns over the rights of minorities in India the White House on Friday said that the US President will raise the issue of religious freedom with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the prior’s scheduled visit to India next week. “President Donald Trump will talk about our shared tradition of democracy and religious freedom both in his public remarks and then certainly in private. He will raise these issues, particularly the religious freedom issue, which is extremely important to this administration,” a senior White House official told reporters in a conference call on Friday, February 21.
When asked about the new Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens, the official said President trump will highlight both the issues. “I think the President will talk about these issues in his meetings with PM Modi and note that the world is looking to India to continue to uphold its democratic traditions, and respect for religious minorities,” The Indian Express quoted the official as saying. “Prime Minister Modi, in his first speech after winning the election last year, talked about how he would prioritise being inclusive of India’s religious minorities. And, certainly, the world looks to India to maintain religious liberty and equal treatment for all under the rule of law,” the official said, referring to a poll victory speech by PM Modi.
The official, noting that the US has immense respect for India and its democratic traditions and institutions, said that both the countries share the commitment in upholding the universal values and rule of law. “Of course, it’s in the Indian constitution — religious freedom, respect for religious minorities, and equal treatment of all religions. So this is something that is important to the President and I’m sure it will come up,” he added. The official pointed out that India is the birthplace of four major world religions, and said that the country has a strong democratic foundation. He further said that India is rich in religious, linguistic, and cultural diversity. Along with Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and daughter Ivanka will also be travelling to India on February 24 for two days. A 12-member delegation will be led by the trio to Ahmedabad, Agra, and New Delhi.