Headline, July 03 2022/ ''' '' INDIA QUANDARY INDEX '' '''


 INDEX '' '''

IT IS NOT HARD TO FATHOM WHY INDIA'S LEADER is getting rock-star treatment in Washington, from state dinner at the White House to an address on Capitol Hill.

India has a long history of wariness toward America - most of its military equipment comes from the Soviet Union and Russia, and it would prefer to steer clear of direct involvement in the U.S. - China rivalry - senior American officials believe that India's views of the United States have fundamentally improved in recent years.

This is partly through the work of the dynamic Indian diaspora, partly through greater strategic partnership, and partly because of the growing interest by American companies in India as an alternative to China for expansion in Asia.

India has joined the United States, Japan and Australia in the ''Quad,'' an informal grouping that seeks to counter China's increasingly assertive behavior in the Indo-Pacific region.

And hundreds of American business and industry leaders gathered to meet with Mr. Modi last week. This visit included major deals to build American jet engines in India and to sell American drones.

President Biden is right to acknowledge the potential of America's partnership with India using all the symbolism and diplomatic tools at his disposal.

But Mr. Biden cannot ignore the other, equally significant, changes in India during the last nine years : Under Mr. Modi and his right-wing, Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, India has witnessed a serious erosion of the civil and political rights and democratic freedom guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.

Mr. Modi and his allies have been accused of policies that target and discriminate against religious minorities, especially India's 200 million Muslims, and of using the power of the state to punish rivals and silence critics.

Raids on political opponents and dissenting voices have become frequent; the mainstream news media has been diminished; the independence of courts and other democratic institutions has been eroded - all to a chorus of avowals from the B.J.P. that it is acting strictly within the law.

In March, a court in Mr. Modi's home state sentenced the opposition leader, Rahul Gandhi, to a two-year prison term for defaming the prime minister; though Mr. Gandhi has not been jailed, the sentence led to his expulsion from Parliament, and will most likely prevent him from running again.

Before that, in January, the Modi government used emergency laws to limit access to a BBC documentary that re-examined damning allegations that Mr. Modi played a role in murderous sectarian violence in Gujarat State 20 years ago, when he was chief minister there. As this editorial board warned :

'' When populist leaders invoke emergency laws to block dissent, democracy is in peril.''

Mr. Modi has demonstrated a prickly intolerance for criticism and may still harbor resentment from the nearly 10 years he was effectively barred from traveling to the United States for allegations of ''severe violations of religious freedom'' over the Gujarat violence.

[ He has repeatedly denied involvement, and the visa ban was lifted by the Obama administration when Mr. Modi became Prime Minister ] A public scolding from the White House, especially when the United States is wrestling with its own threats to democracy, would serve little purpose except to anger the Indian public.

Nevertheless, Mr. Biden and other American officials should be willing to have a forthright, if sometimes uncomfortable, discussion with their Indian counterparts. America's own struggles are humbling proof that even the most established democracies are not immune to problems.

The quandary is not limited to India. How the United States manages its relationships with elected autocracies, from Poland's Law and Justice government to Benjamin Netanyahu's far right coalition in Israel is one of the most important strategic questions of American foreign policy.

President Biden knows, from his many years in public service, that there will always be points of friction even in the closest partnerships between nations, let alone in relationships with leaders who have a very different view of the world.

And senior U.S. officials say that the administration is keenly aware of the flaws of the Modi government. Yet they believe that India's vital role on the global stage supersedes concerns about one leader.

India has shaped a great and complex democracy out of a rich panoply of people, languages and religious traditions, and it is reaching for a more prominent role in global affairs.

But it is also critical to make clear that intolerance and repression run counter to everything that Americans admire in India, and threaten the partnership with the United States that its prime minister is actively seeking to strengthen and deepen.

America wants and needs to embrace India; but Mr. Modi should be left with no illusion about how dangerous his autocratic leanings are, to the people of India and for the health of democracy in the world.

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Foreign Affairs, State-of-the-World, and Leaders continues. The World Students Society thanks The Editorial Board of The New York Time.

The Editorial Board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values.

With respectful dedication to The Global Founder Framers of The World Students Society - the exclusive ownership of every student in the world - and then Students, Professors and Teachers.

See You all prepare for Great Global Elections on !WOW! - for every subject in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

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