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US Dismisses Criticism Ahead Of PM Modi Visit, Says India Is A Vibrant Democracy
During his state visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address a Joint Meeting of the United States Congress on 22 June
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The White House affirmed India's status as a thriving democracy and dismissed concerns regarding its democratic well-being. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to embark on a state visit to the United States later this month.
John Kirby, the Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the White House's National Security Council stated, “India is a vibrant democracy. Anybody that, you know, happens to go to New Delhi can see that for themselves. And certainly, I would expect that strength and health of democratic institutions will be part of the discussion."
Kirby emphasised the significant alliance between India and the United States across various domains of their partnership. "Look, we never shy away. And you can do that with friends. You're supposed to do that with friends. You never shy away from expressing concerns that we might have with anyone around the world. But this (State) visit is really about advancing what is now and what we hope will be a deeper, stronger partnership and friendship going forward," Kirby responded to a question.
Kirby also highlighted that Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin announced further plans for defence cooperation with India during the Shangri-La conference.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh engaged in comprehensive talks with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday, focusing on crucial aspects of the India-US defence relationship and regional security in the Indo-Pacific region.
The discussions primarily centred on enhancing defence collaboration, including strategic alignment and increased cooperation. The defence minister underscored the significance of bolstering ties between the two nations.
According to Rajnath Singh, the partnership between India and the US is "critical" in ensuring a "free, open and rules-based Indo-Pacific region."
Additionally, Kirby emphasised India's membership in the Pacific Quad and its pivotal role as a friend and partner in upholding security in the Indo-Pacific region.
Kirby expressed, “The president is looking forward very much to having Prime Minister Modi here to talk about all those issues and to advance and deepen that partnership and that friendship."
During his state visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address a Joint Meeting of the United States Congress on 22 June. This honour is typically bestowed upon close allies of the United States or prominent world leaders. Previously, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol addressed the Congress in April.
This will be the second time PM Modi addresses a joint meeting of Congress, following his 2016 address. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first leader of India, had the distinction of addressing such a meeting in the United States back in 1949.