US State Department spokesman Ned Price on Monday, responding to a media query after a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi that has sparked controversy since its release, said, “I’m not familiar with the documentary you’re talking about, but I see the US and India as two rich countries. And I am very familiar with the shared values of what he calls a vibrant democracy.”
Addressing a press briefing on Monday (local time), Price said there are many elements that strengthen the US global strategic partnership with India, including political, economic and exceptionally deep people-to-people ties.
Calling India’s democracy a vibrant one, he said that “we look at everything that binds us together, and we want to strengthen those elements that bind us together,” as he noted the diplomatic ties that the US and India share with each other. It was underlined.
He also emphasized that the US partnership with India is very deep and both countries share common values for American democracy and Indian democracy.
“I am not aware of the documentary you have pointed to, but I would say broadly, there are many elements that undergird the global strategic partnership that we have with our Indian partners.
There are close political ties, economic ties, and exceptionally deep people-to-people ties between the United States and India. But one of those additional elements is the values that we share that are common to American democracy and Indian democracy,” he added.
Last week, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended Prime Minister Narendra Modi and distanced himself from a BBC documentary series, saying he “disagrees with the characterization” of his Indian counterpart.
Mr Sunak made the comments in a controversial documentary tabled in the British Parliament by Pakistani-born MP Imran Hussain.
The UK national broadcaster BBC aired a two-part series attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat during the 2002 Gujarat riots. The documentary sparked outrage and was pulled from select platforms.
The Foreign Office responded to the BBC report, claiming it was completely biased.
Addressing a weekly presser in New Delhi, MEA spokesperson
Arindam Bagchi said, “We think this is propaganda
Any objectivity is biased. Note that it has not been screened in India.
We don’t want to answer this further so that it doesn’t become too prestigious.”
He even questioned the “purpose of the exercise and the agenda behind it”.
“The documentary is reflective of the agencies and individuals that are re-peddling this narrative. It makes us wonder about the purpose of the exercise and the agenda behind it; frankly, we don’t want to dignify the effort,” he added.
Referring to former UK secretary Jack Straw’s apparent comments in the documentary series, Mr Bagchi said. “He (Jack Straw) seems to be talking about some internal UK report. How can I access it? It’s a 20-year-old report. Report it. Why should we jump on it now? Just Jack Straw saying how they legitimize it so much.”
“I’ve heard words like inquiry and inquiry. There’s a reason why we use the colonial mentality. We don’t use the words loosely. What inquiry were they diplomats over there… inquiry, are they running the country?” Bagchi Sahib asked.
Prominent Indian-origin UK citizens condemned the series. Prominent UK citizen Lord Rami Ranger said, “BBC has done a lot of damage to more than a billion Indians.”
Moreover, the US Department of Defense spokesperson also said that the US has always called for regional stability in South Asia. And its relations with India and Pakistan are on their own terms.
He also said that the pace and scope of talks between India and Pakistan is clearly a matter for the two countries.
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“We have been calling for regional stability in South Asia for a long time. Our relations with India and Pakistan stand in their own right and we do not see them as a zero-sum. But the pace, scope and character of any dialogue between India and Pakistan is a matter for the two countries,” Price said during the briefing.