“I am not familiar with the documentary you refer to, but I am very familiar with the shared values that define the United States and India as two thriving and vibrant democracies,” the US state said.
Ministry spokesman Ned Price said this Monday in response to a media question about a BBC documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has sparked controversy since its release.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday (local time), Price said there are numerous elements strengthening the US global strategic partnership with India, including political, economic and exceptionally deep interpersonal ties.
Calling Indian democracy vibrant, he said, “We look at everything that binds us together, and we try to strengthen all those elements that bind us together,” while underlining the diplomatic ties that the US and India share.
He also highlighted the fact that the partnership that the US shares with India is exceptionally deep and that both nations share the values that American democracy and Indian democracy have in common.
“I am not aware of this documentary you refer to, but I will say broadly that there are a number of elements that underlie the global strategic partnership we have with our Indian partners.
There are close political ties, there are economic ties, and there are exceptionally deep interpersonal ties between the United States and India. But one of those additional elements is the values we share, the values that American democracy and Indian democracy have in common,” he added.
Last week, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended Prime Minister Narendra Modi and distanced himself from the BBC documentary series, saying he “disagrees with the characterization” of his Indian counterpart.
Mr Sunak made these comments on the controversial documentary brought forward in the UK Parliament by Pakistani MP Imran Hussain.
“The UK Government’s position on this has long been clear and has not changed. Of course we will not tolerate prosecution wherever it occurs, but I am not sure I entirely agree with the characterization put forward by the Honorable Sir . to,” Mr Sunak said while responding to Hussain’s question in the BBC report.
British national broadcaster BBC aired a two-part series attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister during the 2002 Gujarat riots. The documentary sparked outrage and was removed from select platforms.
The Foreign Office responded to the BBC story by claiming it was completely biased.
While addressing a weekly press in New Delhi, MEA spokesman said
Arindam Bagchi said, “We think this is a propaganda piece. This has
no objectivity. This is biased. Please note that this has not been shown in India.
We don’t want to answer this anymore so this doesn’t get much dignity.”
He even asked questions about “the purpose of the exercise and the agenda behind it”.
“The documentary is a reflection of the agency and the individuals re-enacting this story. It makes us question the purpose of the exercise and the agenda behind it; frankly, we don’t want to make these efforts worthy,” he added.
Referring to apparent comments made by former British minister Jack Straw in the documentary series, Mr Bagchi said: “He (Jack Straw) seems to be referring to an internal British report. How do I access that? It’s a 20-year-old report. “Why should we jump on it now? Just because Jack Straw says so, how do they lend it so much legitimacy.”
“I heard words like research and research. There’s a reason we use the colonial mentality. We don’t use words loosely. What kind of research were diplomats there… research, do they rule the country?” asked Mr. Bagchi.
Prominent British citizens of Indian descent condemned the series. Prominent British citizen Lord Rami Ranger said the “BBC has caused great pain to over a billion Indians.”
Furthermore, the spokesperson for the US State Department also said that the US has always called for regional stability in South Asia and that its relations with India and Pakistan stand alone.
He further stated that the pace and scope of the India-Pakistan dialogue is clearly a matter for the two countries.
‘We have long argued for regional stability in South Asia. Our relations with India and Pakistan are self-contained and we do not see them as zero-sum. But the pace, scope and character of any dialogue between India and Pakistan is a matter for the two countries,” Price said at the briefing.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
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