New Delhi: US President Donald Trump will raise the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and religious freedom issues with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit next week, and he will convey that “the world looks to India to maintain religious liberty and equal treatment for all under the rule of law”, the US administration said on Saturday.
It added that President Trump “will also encourage bilateral dialogue between India and Paki-stan” on the Kashmir issue, adding that the US expects Pakistan to crack down on terror outfits operating there.
The US said the “Make in India” campaign rai-sed fears in the US of “protectionist” policies by New Delhi, while pointing to “the failure of the Indian government to provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets in numerous sectors”.
Economic and energy ties as well as cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region will also be discussed, the US said.
In response to a question on the CAA, the US administration said, “President Trump will talk about our shared tradition of democracy and religious freedom both in his public remarks and then certainly in private. He will raise these issues, particularly the religious freedom issue, which is extremely important to this administration. And I think that the President will talk about these issues in his meetings with Mr Modi and note that the world is looking to India to continue to uphold its democratic traditions, respect for religious minorities.”
The US administration added, “Prime Minister Modi, in his first speech after winning the election last year, talked about how he would prioritise being inclusive of India’s religious minorities. And, certainly, the world looks to India to maintain religious liberty and equal treatment for all under the rule of law. ... Of course, it’s in the Indian constitution — religious freedom, respect for religious minorities, and equal treatment of all religions in India. We have great respect for India’s democratic traditions and institutions, and we will continue to encourage India to uphold those traditions. ... India is a country rich in religious, linguistic, and cultural diversity. In fact, it's the birthplace of four major world religions.”
On Kashmir and Pakistan, the US said, “What you’ll hear from the President is very much encouraging a reduction in tensions between India and Pakistan, encouraging the two countries to engage in bilateral dialogue with each other to resolve their differences. We continue to believe a core foundation of any successful dialogue between the two is based on continued momentum in Pakistan's efforts to crack down on terrorists and extremists on its territory. So we continue to look for that. But I think the President will urge both countries to seek to maintain peace and stability along the line of control and refrain from actions or statements that could increase tensions in the region."
On whether India's "participation" in the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)---that had earlier given India many concessions---could be "restored", the US said, "The concerns that led to the revocation, suspension of India's GSP access remains a concern for us. We continue to talk to our Indian colleagues about addressing these market access barriers."