Washington [US], July 8: A senior U.S. diplomat will travel to India in the coming days and engage with its civil society over free speech and marginalization of minorities, after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent U.S. visit when he denied that abuse of religious minorities existed in his country.
Uzra Zeya, U.S. under secretary of state for democracy and human rights, will also meet with Indian government officials to discuss "global challenges, democracy, regional stability, and cooperation on humanitarian relief," the State Department said in a statement on Friday.
Zeya's upcoming trip follows a June visit by Modi to the United States, where President Joe Biden rolled the red carpet for him even as activists decried what they saw as a deterioration of human rights in India under Modi's watch. Biden and Modi touted deals on defense and commerce aimed at countering China's global influence.
Biden said he discussed human rights with Modi but he did not publicly criticize Modi, his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or India's government on the topic.
Zeya will also visit Bangladesh on her trip from July 8 to July 14.
"In both countries, Under Secretary Zeya will engage with civil society organizations on freedom of expression and association, and inclusion of women and girls, persons with disabilities, and vulnerable groups, including marginalized religious and ethnic minorities," the State Department said.
During his U.S. visit, Modi denied that abuse of religious minorities existed in India, a claim that activists called a lie and said was contradicted by documentation from human rights advocates.
Source: Fijian Broadcasting Corporation