“I’m not familiar with the documentary you’re referring to, but I’m very familiar with the shared values that make the United States and India two thriving and vibrant democracies,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday. A response to a media inquiry about the BBC’s documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has caused controversy since its release.
Speaking at 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 people-to-people ties that are exceptionally deep.
Calling India’s democracy a vibrant democracy, he said, “we look at everything that binds us together and we try to strengthen all the elements that bind us together”, highlighting the diplomatic ties that the US and India share with each other.
He also emphasized that the partnership that the United States shares with India is extremely deep and that both nations share values that are common to American democracy and Indian democracy.
“I’m not aware of this documentary that you’re referring to, but broadly speaking, there are a number of elements that strengthen our global strategic partnership with our Indian partners.
The United States and India have close political ties, economic ties, and exceptionally deep people-to-people ties. 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, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended Prime Minister Narendra Modi and distanced himself from BBC documentaries in which he said he “did not agree with the characterization” of his Indian counterpart.
Mr. Sunak said these words in relation to the controversial documentary film raised by the Pakistani MP Imran Hussain in the British Parliament.
“The British Government’s position on this has been clear and long-standing and has not changed, of course we do not tolerate persecution anywhere it appears, but I am not sure that I agree at all with the characterization that the hon. Mr. Sunak said while answering Hussein’s question in a BBC report.
The UK’s national broadcaster, the BBC, aired a two-part series attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister during the 2002 Gujarat riots. The documentary sparked outrage and was removed from select platforms.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in response to the BBC’s report, claimed that it was completely biased.
MEA spokesperson while addressing the weekly press in New Delhi
Arindam Bağçi said, “We think this is propaganda
no objectivity. This is biased. Note that this has not been verified in India.
We don’t want to answer more about it, so that it doesn’t gain too much dignity.”
He even raised questions about the “purpose of the exercise and the agenda behind it.”
“The documentary is a reflection of the agency and those who are reselling this narrative. It makes us wonder about the purpose and agenda behind the training; frankly, we don’t want to see these efforts deserved,” he said.
Referring to ex-UK Secretary Jack Straw’s apparent statements in the documentary series, Mr Bagchi said: “He (Jack Straw) is referring to some internal UK report. How can I address that? This is a 20-year-old. Why jump on that now? ?How do they give it so much legitimacy just because Jack Straw said it?
“I’ve heard words like inquiry, investigation. There’s a reason we’re using colonial thinking. We’re not using words in vain. What investigation have they been diplomats over there… investigation, they’re running the country?” Mr. Bagchi asked.
Prominent British citizens of Indian origin have condemned the series. “BBC has done a huge disservice to more than a billion Indians,” said Lord Rami Ranger, a prominent British citizen.
In addition, the spokesperson of the US Department said that the US has always called for regional stability in South Asia and its relations with India and Pakistan stand alone.
He further said that the pace and extent of dialogue between India and Pakistan is clearly a matter for the two countries.
“We have long been calling for regional stability in South Asia. Our relations with India and Pakistan stand on their own and we do not see them as zero sum. But the pace, scale and nature of any dialogue between India and Pakistan is a matter for the two countries,” Price said during the briefing.
(Other than the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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