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India and the USA: can Biden and Modi work together?

Joe Biden aims to strengthen democracy around the world, while Modi’s India is becoming increasingly undemocratic

India and the USA: can Biden and Modi work together?

Joe Biden aims to strengthen democracy around the world, while Modi’s India is becoming increasingly undemocratic

India and the USA: can Biden and Modi work together?

Joe Biden aims to strengthen democracy around the world, while Modi’s India is becoming increasingly undemocratic

India and the USA: can Biden and Modi work together?

Joe Biden aims to strengthen democracy around the world, while Modi’s India is becoming increasingly undemocratic

As the Biden administration gets started, Modi may be forced to change course.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden of the United States spoke to PM Narendra Modi for the first time since coming to office. It’s the start of a new chapter in the relationship between India and the US. But while Modi and Donald Trump seemed natural allies, Joe Biden is a very different president.

According to a statement from the White House, with details of the conversation:

“The President underscored his desire to defend democratic institutions and norms around the world and noted that a shared commitment to democratic values is the bedrock for the U.S.-India relationship.”

Yet, only two weeks later, Modi is showing even less “commitment to democratic values” than ever. He has failed to listen to the demands of the protesting farmers, and there seems to be no resolution in sight. The police have arrested a number of journalists for their coverage of the protests, as well as 22-year-old activist Disha Ravi. The crackdown on dissenting voices has stepped up, and today anyone who speaks out against government policy is seen as a threat.

Donald Trump had no interest in human rights, or even democracy. Despite international condemnation of Modi’s actions in Jammu and Kashmir in 2019, the US remained silent. But now things are different. In his first weeks in office, Joe Biden has already overturned many of Trump’s rulings on foreign policy, such as reinstating aid to Yemen and cutting arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

This is a president who makes it a priority to strengthen democracy around the world, as well as in his own country. How can he build a relationship with a Prime Minister who has brought democracy in India to its knees?

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