That the Biden Administration intends to give India the same special treatment that its predecessor, the Trump Administration did, and ignore the way it is suppressing its non-Hindu minorities, was shown both by its reaction to the recent downgrade India was given to the Freedom House Freedom Index and to India’s introduction of a new law which allows the purchase of property in Kashmir and Ladakh by non-residents and foreigners. The Freedom House report, which annually ranks the countries of the world, has downgraded India’s status from ‘free’ to ‘partly free’, which is an acknowledgement of how the Modi government has caused, according to the report, a decline in human rights since it came to office in 2014.
India has long boasted of being the world’s largest democracy, but this has meant that it has protected its minorities from the excesses of the Hindu majority. That majority has flexed its muscle by electing the BJP to office. One of its major oppressive measures has been the ending of Kashmir’s special status and the bifurcation of the state into two union territories. More to the point has been the changes in domicile and property laws, designed to convert the demography of the former state, converting the Muslim majority into a minority.
There are strong economic reasons for the USA to wink at India’s decline from a country paying lip service to secularism, human rights and the rule of law. Also, as it wants India on its side as it prepares to confront China, it has an even greater motivation to let India do what it wants. However, the USA should realize that its forgiving attitude does not suit it, and will lead to an ultimate rupture with India. The alternative would be for the USA to change itself and become an overt oppressor itself. President Joe Biden should remember that his predecessor, Donald Trump, not only showed symptoms of converting the USA into an illiberal sate which ignored human rights, but also struck up a friendship with Narendra the architect of today’s India and its hostility to minorities.