Donald Trump has messages from Illinois and Indiana to Maryland and South Carolina⁠— via Mike Pompeo, for India’s Narendra Modi

  • Four US senators wrote a letter to the US Secretary of State citing “troubling actions” by Indian Prime Minister.
  • The letter requested the US government to review India’s decisions on Kashmir and the new amendments to the South Asian country’s Citizenship Act.
  • US President Trump and Melania Trump are due to visit India on 24-25 February.
At a time when Donald Trump is preparing for an encore of the ‘Howdy Modi’ event ⁠— this time in Ahmedabad— with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, four US Senators ⁠— 2 democrats and 2 republicans⁠— want he US President to present India with their criticism of the ruling government.

On Thursday, the four senators - Chris Van Hollen and Richard Durbin of Democratic Party and Lindsey Graham and Todd Young of the Republican Party wrote a letter to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, calling some of Modi’s policy decisions as “troubling actions.”

Chris Van HollenMarylandDemocratic party
Richard DurbinIllinois Democratic party
Lindsey GrahamSouth CarolinaRepublican Party
Todd YoungIndianaRepublican Party

The letter invoked two very sensitive issues in India— Kashmir and the citizenship row. “India has now imposed the longest-ever internet shutdown (in Kashmir) by a democracy, disrupting access to medical care, business, and education for seven million people. Hundreds of Kashmiris remain in “preventive detention,” including key political figures,” read the letter from the Senators.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo smiles while speaking at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020.Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The Kashmir issue

India suspended the ‘special’ status given to Kashmir in August 2019 and shutdown mobile and internet services in the strife torn valley for months together to curb the potential backlash.

This led to much consternation among other countries watching including the likes of Pakistan and China, aside from sections within the US. Speaking to the media at the Oval Office, Trump said, “I am willing to help them if they want. They know that. That (offer) is out there.”

However, India has always maintained that the revocation of Kashmir’s ‘special status’ is an “internal” matter and not a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, as Trump implied.

The Citizenship row

Soon after the Kashmir crackdown, the Indian government also got the amendments to India’s Citizenship Act (CAA) passed in the Parliament and signalled the rollout of a National Register of Citizens (NRC) soon after.

Together, the CAA and NRC are feared to be discriminatory against India’s Muslims despite repeated assurances to the contrary from the Modi government. “The number of individuals including the number of religious, ethnic and other minorities -- at risk of statelessness, arbitrary deprivation or denial of nationality, expulsion or arbitrary detention pursuant to the Government of India’s latest National Register of Citizens list, and any excessive use of force by Indian authorities against demonstrators opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act,” the US Senators said in their letter to Pompeo.


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