South Asia

India’s Modi denies discrimination in his government at press conference with Biden

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday there was no discrimination in his government’s policies on religious grounds and that it enforced the law equally, without bias.

“I’m actually really surprised that people say so and so, people don’t say it. Indeed, India is a democracy. And as President Biden also mentioned, India and America, both countries, democracy is in our DNA. Democracy is our spirit. Democracy runs in our veins,” Modi said.

“We live democracy and our ancestors have actually put words to this concept, and that is in the form of our Constitution. Our government has taken the basic principles of democracy. And on that basis, our constitution is made and the entire country runs on that,” he added.

Modi made the remarks in a press briefing with U.S. President Joe Biden when asked about concerns raised by rights groups over what they call a deteriorating human rights situation in India, particularly in treatment of minorities and Muslims.

Biden meanwhile said that the two had had “a good discussion about democratic values.”

“That’s the nature of our relationship -we’re straightforward with each other and we respect each other,” Biden said. “One of the fundamental reasons that I believe the US-China relationship is not in the space it is in the US-Indian relationship is that there is an overwhelming respect for each other because we’re both democracies and it’s a common democratic character in both our countries and our people, our diversity, our culture are open, tolerant, robust debate.”