Skip to main content

Bipartisan US senators ask Pompeo to talk Kashmir, CAA with Modi: Trump's visit

By Rajiv Shah
Ahead of President Donald Trump's much publicised India visit, which includes a visit to Ahmedabad on February 24, a bipartisan group of American senators have written to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing concerns and seeking State Department assessments on India's "crackdown" in Kashmir and the controversial citizenship law.
A New York-based digital news site, Axios, said this "matters" as, Trump, heading to India later this month, "rather than pressure Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Kashmir crackdown during their last appearance together, in Houston, praised him (Modi)."
Milan Vaishnav of the Carnegie Endowment, a Washington-based think tank, is quoted as stating that the visit is expected to "essentially going to provide a similar kind of air cover for Modi”, at a time when he is facing all-round flak for Kashmir and the citizenship law.
Not without reason, Trump said he expected in Ahmedabad “5–7 million people just from the airport to the new stadium" (see video below) just greet him in Ahmedabad. Ironically, Ahmedabad's population is 5.6 million, though government sources suggest, a little more than a lakh people are estimated to greet the US president. Significantly, Trump quotes this figure stating Modi told this to him.
The senators -- who include Republicans Lindsey Graham and Todd Young, and Democrats Chris Van Hollen and Dick Durbin -- have written that Modi's twin steps "threaten the rights of certain religious minorities and the secular character of the state." They described the events in Jammu and Kashmir, "India's only Muslim-majority state, as 'troubling'."
The bipartisan letter said, "More than six months after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government unilaterally revoked the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir, the government continues to block most internet in the region."
It added, India has now imposed the longest-ever internet shut down by a democracy, disrupting access to medical care, business, and education for seven million people. Hundreds of Kashmiris remain in 'preventive detention,' including key political figures."
Also mentioning the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which would "give religious minorities from India's neighbours a fast-track to citizenship — but not Muslims", the letter apprehends that as a result of this law, people --'in particular religious or ethnic minorities -- could be rendered stateless, deported or locked up as a result of the citizenship law.
Talking about "excessive use of force by Indian authorities" against people protesting that law, the Axios report says, "Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party dominate Indian politics ... have taken swift action on their Hindu nationalist agenda since winning a landslide election last May. That has led to fierce backlash on the streets and in India's elite universities as fears grow that India's status as a secular democracy is under threat."
The senators also ask Pompeo for assessments on the number of political detainees in Kashmir, whether they had been subjected to torture
The senators also seek Pompeo's "assessments" on the number of political detainees in Kashmir, whether they had been subjected to "torture or other forms of mistreatment, restrictions on internet and cell service in Kashmir, restrictions on access for foreign diplomats, journalists and observers in Kashmir, and restrictions on religious freedom in Kashmir."

India's special status dropped

Significantly, The Trump visit to India is taking place ahead of US treating China as developing countries for trade benefits. A report from Geneva says, Trump administration has "narrowed its list of developing countries to reduce threshold for triggering investigation into unfairly subsidised exports."
Pointing out that this is being done "in order to reduce the threshold for triggering a US investigation into whether nations are harming U.S. industries with unfairly subsidized exports", the report quotes a US Trade Representative as saying the Trump administration has also eliminated its special preferences for Albania, Argentina;, Armenia, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Georgia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand. Ukraine and Vietnam.
The US official said the decision to revise its developing country methodology for countervailing duty investigations was necessary because America’s previous guidance — which dates back to 1998 — “is now obsolete”. The report adds, "The development marks a noteworthy departure from two decades of American trade policy regarding developing nations that could result in more stringent penalties for some of the world’s top exporters."
It adds, "The move also reflects President Donald Trump’s frustration that large economies like China and India are permitted to receive preferential trade benefits as developing nations at the World Trade Organization."

Comments

TRENDING

Ganga world's second most polluted river, Modi's Varanasi tops microplastics pollution

By Rajiv Shah  Will the new report by well-known elite NGO Toxics Link create a ripple in the powerful corridors of Delhi? Titled “Quantitative analysis of microplastics along River Ganga”, forwarded to Counterview, doesn’t just say that Ganga is the second most polluted river in the world, next only to Yangtze (China). It goes ahead to do a comparison of microplastics pollution in three cities shows Varanasi – the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – is more polluted compared to Kanpur and Haridwar.

Madhya Pradesh tops India's 145 instances of 'anti-Christian atrocities' this year

Counterview Desk  A report prepared by the Religious Liberty Commission the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), founded in 1951 as the national alliance of evangelical Christians of the Protestant denomination, in its just-released report, “Hate and Targeted Violence against Christians in India: Half Yearly Report 2021”, has said that an analysis of 145 cases of violence it has documented against Christians, mainly by non-state actors, “stems from an environment of targeted hate.”

Demolition drive: Why aren't high-end hotels, farmhouses treated same way as Khorigaon?

By Our Representative A public hearing, sponsored by the civil rights group National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) to hear the affected citizens of Khorigaon, off Faridabad, Delhi NCR, has seen local people complaining how their houses are being demolished even as the entire area was converted into a prison through heavy police deployment.

Meaningful? Punjab govt's debt waiver offer for agricultural workers, landless farmers

By Dr Gian Singh*    On July 14, 2021, the Punjab government announced that it would hold a state level function on August 20 to waive the debt of agricultural labourers and landless farmers(pure tenants) of Punjab to the tune of Rs 590 crore. Prior to the 2017 elections, the Congress party had promised in its election manifesto and public speeches that the Punjab government would waive all the institutional and non-institutional debt of farmers and agricultural labourers of Punjab.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How BSF, police, court turned Bangladeshi woman slave victim into accused in crime

Counterview Desk  Civil rights leader Kirity Roy has strongly objected to the manner in which the Border Security Force (BSF) , the police and the judiciary in West Bengal have treated a 35 years old Bangladeshi woman victim of human trafficking, who was subjected to sexual exploitation for 15 long years, has been declared guilty of violating the Foreigners Act, violating all human rights norms.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Pro-corporate? New GoI circular 'blatant attempt' to control Adivasi lives, livelihoods

By Hemant Das*  The Indian Community Activists Network (ICAN) condemns the anti-forest dwellers circular jointly issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and the (Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA), Government of India (GoI) on July 6. 

Covid impact on menstrual cycles? Young girls 'relapsing' back to unhygienic old-cloth rags

By Dr Sudeshna Roy*  Covid-19 pandemic has gripped the world in health and economic shock. Combating this public health crisis has diverted development resources earmarked for adolescents and the youth. India; having world’s second largest population; 1.38 crores as per UN mid-year 2020 estimation, also shelters the largest adolescents and young adult population, which at 243 million constitute 20% of the world’s 1.2 billion adolescent population.

Khorigaon demolition: People being 'brutally' evicted, cops 'restricting' food, water

By Ishita Chatterjee, Neelesh Kumar, Manju Menon, Vimal Bhai* On July 23, the Faridabad Municipal Corporation told the Supreme Court that they have cleared 74 acres out of 150 acres. Despite the affidavit of the Municipal Corporation, the court, on the complaint of various litigants, that the arrangements for living, food etc. have not been made for the people.