New Delhi: United States Secretary of Defence General Lloyd Austin on Saturday said that he a conversation about violations of human rights especially against Muslims with Indian ministers during his two-day visit (19-21 March) to the country. He added that it was important for partners to have “those kinds of discussions”
Asked at a news conference in Delhi if he had spoken with Prime Minister Narendra Modi about “violations of human rights especially against Muslim minorities in the northeast”, General Austin said, “I did not have an opportunity to talk with him about that. I did have a conversation with other members of the cabinet on this issue.”
In response to a question about the US Senate Committee flagging ‘India’s deteriorating democratic situation’, the Secretary of Defence said that for the United States human rights and rule of law are important.
Secretary Austin is the first top member of the new US administration to visit India since President Joe Biden assumed power in January. The underlying purpose of the visit was to forge a stronger strategic alliance of Quad members (India, Japan, Australia and the US) to thwart Chinese influence in the region. He arrived in India after visiting Japan and South Korea.