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Joe Biden Says He Discussed Human Rights and Free Press with PM Modi

New Delhi, September 11, 2023 – President Joe Biden of the United States has emphasized the significance of respecting human rights and upholding a free press during discussions with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 summit. Biden’s remarks came as he departed from Delhi to visit Hanoi, Vietnam, marking a crucial outreach to an Indo-Pacific partner.

In his opening statements, President Biden underscored the substantial discussions he had with Prime Minister Modi, aiming to strengthen the partnership between their nations. Referring to Modi’s visit to the White House in June, Biden reiterated his commitment to human rights and the crucial role of civil society and a free press in fostering a robust and prosperous nation. He stated, “And, as I always do, I raised the importance of respecting human rights and the vital role that civil society and a free press have in building a strong and prosperous country with Mr. Modi.”

This diplomatic exchange followed a meeting between the two leaders on September 8, hosted by Prime Minister Modi at his official residence on the eve of the G20 summit. While the Indian readout of the meeting expressed Modi’s appreciation for Biden’s vision and commitment to strengthening the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, it did not explicitly mention discussions on human rights.

A senior White House official accompanying President Biden, Kurt Campbell, Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs in the US National Security Council, shared insights into the conversation. Campbell emphasized that President Biden approached the topic of a healthy democracy without adopting a lecturing tone. He stressed that the discussions were framed within the context of shared global challenges faced by both nations.

During President Modi’s recent visit to the United States, questions arose from the American media regarding their access to diplomatic interaction venues. While in the US, Prime Minister Modi participated in a rare press conference with President Biden, where he responded to a question from an American reporter concerning his government’s treatment of minorities.

Subsequently, supporters of India’s ruling party targeted the reporter on social media platforms. In response, the White House condemned the harassment, describing it as “unacceptable” and “antithetical to the very principles of democracy.”

President Biden’s commitment to addressing human rights and the importance of a free press in his discussions with Prime Minister Modi underscores the ongoing cooperation and dialogue between the two nations. Their shared commitment to democratic values and strategic convergences remains a focal point of the India-US partnership.

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Gangtokian Web Team, 11/09/23

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