Antony Blinken’s Nomination for US Secretary of State Evokes Optimism Among Indian Americans

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Antony Blinken served as the deputy secretary of state and as deputy national security adviser in President Obama’s administration. — AP file

IAMC is looking forward to working with President-elect Joe Biden’s administration and the new Secretary of State in upholding America’s commitment to democracy and human rights.

Press Release

WASHINGTON — The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has welcomed President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination of Antony Blinken for the position of US Secretary of State.

Indian Americans are looking forward to Mr Blinken as the nation’s top diplomat, particularly in building a strong US-India strategic partnership that is anchored in an understanding that the geopolitical interests of both countries are best served by advancing democracy, human rights and religious freedom.

Blinken has a long and distinguished career in public service, including as national security adviser and deputy Secretary of State under the Obama administration.

In April 2020, IAMC had the privilege to brief Blinken on the rapid deterioration of human rights and religious freedom in India, where rabid Hindu nationalism, embodied in the ideology of Hindutva, is actively engaged in violations of human rights and religious freedom. Besides providing detailed information and analysis on how the rise of an ultra-nationalist supremacist ideology in India is actively undermining peace and stability in South Asia, IAMC made the following recommendations to a future Biden administration:

Foreground “freedom of faith” and “equality of citizens” that are enshrined as fundamental rights in India’s Constitution in every aspect of bilateral relations and dialogue with India

Include specific reference to shared commitments to pluralism and freedom in all US-India agreements and pacts on economic, trade, security and defense cooperation;

Pursue modifications in CAA and NRC to end anti-Muslim bias inherent therein

“As a stepson of a Holocaust survivor and someone who was deeply involved in American interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo, we expect Mr. Blinken will elevate rather than diminish US involvement in advancing religious freedom, in South Asia and around the world,” said Mr. Rasheed Ahmed, Executive Director of IAMC. “We are also looking forward to President-Elect Joe Biden fulfilling his campaign promise to convene Democracy Summit and ‘Restore Our Moral Leadership,” added Mr. Ahmed.

IAMC has called upon President-elect Joe Biden and US Secretary of State nominee Mr. Antony Blinken to implement the recommendations of the US Commission for International Religious Freedom, by putting India on the State Department’s list of countries of particular concern (CPC), a designation that USCIRF made over a year ago.

“Given Mr. Biden’s decisive victory in the elections, we would like to urge Mr. Blinken to take up geopolitical stability of South Asia as a priority, given it is now one of the hotbeds of radical fanaticism and hate,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “Without international accountability for countries that are egregious violators of human rights and religious freedom, millions of lives and livelihoods are at risk, which bodes ill for global peace,” added Mr. Khan.

IAMC is looking forward to working with President-elect Joe Biden’s administration and the new Secretary of State in upholding America’s commitment to democracy and human rights.

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