While conceding the significance of India at the world stage as a “geopolitical counterweight to China and, in many ways, an indispensable actor”, the paper said United States President Joe Biden will not give the Narendra Modi Government free hand to follow its majoritarian policies as former US President Donald Trump has given
NEW DELHI – Pointing out the dangers of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) majoritarian politics, international newspaper, The Guardian, wrote a strong editorial on the policies and politics of Narendra Modi Government saying India might “find the international environment less accommodating if Mr Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) continue to stir up hatred to win elections”.
The editorial titled “The Guardian view on Modi’s India: the danger of exporting Hindu chauvinism” was published on Monday (27 November).
To make its point, the editorial began with the recent decision of the United States (US) government to put Prime Minister Narendra into “a rogues’ gallery of foreign leaders” along with Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, who was accused of assassinating political rivals and Congo’s Joseph Kabila, whose security detail was accused of assaulting protesters in Washington to give immunity Saudi Arabian crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman in a lawsuit over the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “It portrayed its argument as a legal and not moral position,” the Editorial pointed out.
“Dropping Mr Modi into such a list was no accident. It is a reminder that while New Delhi basks in its diplomatic success at recent G20 and Cop27 summits, it might find the international environment less accommodating if Mr Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) continue to stir up hatred to win elections,” it said.
Elaborating on US government’s decision of naming PM Modi among those leaders, it further said, “Washington’s gesture suggests that its strategic partnership with India cannot be completely insulated from domestic political issues. Mr Modi’s failure, as chief minister of Gujarat, to prevent anti-Muslim riots in 2002 that left hundreds dead saw him denied a US visa, until he became Indian prime minister. The message from Foggy Bottom was that the ban had not been withdrawn, but suspended, because Mr Modi ran a country that Washington wanted to do business with”.
It noted the significance of India at the world stage as a “geopolitical counterweight to China and, in many ways, an indispensable actor”. However, United States President Joe Biden will not give the Narendra Modi Government free hand to follow its majoritarian policies as former US President Donald Trump has given.
“Mr Biden’s team appears to see the position as more contingent, and will be less tolerant than the Trump administration of Mr Modi’s attempts to remould Indian democracy so that Hindus become constitutionally pre-eminent, with minorities reduced to second-class citizens. Last week, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom accused New Delhi of a “crackdown on civil society and dissent”, and “religious freedom violations,” said The Guardian.
The newspaper also pointed to the recent outrage of Gulf countries against India after two officials of the ruling BJP made derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammed.
Highlighting the need of the Gulf countries for India for its growth, the newspaper said ‘while a rising power, India’s ascent depends on building bridges with others. The Middle East is a key energy supplier and regional trade partner that supports 9 million Indian workers. India’s security depends on Arab states sustaining a hostile environment for terrorism’.
At that time, the BJP had swung into action and suspended its spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled another member for its remarks on the marriage of Prophet Mohammed with Aisha. The BJP said that it gives “the highest respects to all religion”.
However, “Bland assurances may not be enough. The intimidation of India’s 200 million Muslims is hiding in plain sight,” said The Guardian.
The newspaper noted that even after the assurances, the BJP continued with its hate politics in India. It cited the release of the rape and murder convicts and recent statements made by Union Home Minister Amit Shah about the 2002 anti-Muslim violence. During the elections campaign in Gujarat, Shah said that rioters were taught lesson in 2002.
“This sounded like a signal to Hindu mobs that they could do as they pleased,” it said.
Pointing out the communal clashes between Hindu and Muslims, The Guardian said, “Worryingly, there are signs that the communal clashes seen in India are being copied elsewhere. In Leicester, many south Asian Muslims – like the city’s Hindus – have Indian roots. Yet when violence erupted between these communities this September, escalating into attacks on mosques and temples, the Indian high commission in London condemned the “violence perpetrated against the Indian community in Leicester and vandalisation of premises and symbols of [the] Hindu religion”.
Pointedly, there was no condemnation of Hindus’ violence against Muslims. Once careful to proclaim its secularism, India’s government appears content to export its Hindu chauvinism. That should trouble everyone”.