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

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

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".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

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.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tata Mundra: NGOs worry as US court rules World Bank can't be sued for 'damages'

By Kate Fried, Mir Jalal*
On August 24 evening, a federal court ruled that the World Bank Group cannot be sued for any damage caused by its lending, despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the same case that these institutions can be sued for their “commercial activity” in the United States.

Top Catholic group wants quota for Dalit Christians, foreign fund licenses revived

By Our Representative
Reiterating its long-pending demand to give "scheduled rights for Dalit Christians”, the All-India Catholic Union (AICU) has regretted that while converts to Sikhism and Buddhism from the former untouchable, or Dalit communities, have been included in the scheduled caste (SC) category, Christians from the identical communities have been “kept out.”