After ‘xenophobic’ remark, US takes U-turn, calls India ‘vibrant democracy’

The US White House praised Indian citizens for voting, calling India one of the most vibrant democracies. The statement came after Biden labeled India as 'xenophobic' along with Japan.

Livemint
Updated18 May 2024
US President Joe Biden had called India 'xenophobic'
US President Joe Biden had called India ’xenophobic’ (Bloomberg)

Applauding Indian citizens for exercising their right to vote, the US White House said there are not too many more vibrant democracies in the world than India.

“Not too many more vibrant democracies in the world than India. And we applaud the Indian people for exercising, you know, their ability to vote, and to have a voice in their future government. And we wish them well throughout the process, of course,” White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby said.

Kirby was responding to a question on the ongoing Lok Sabha elections in India.

US doubles down on Biden's ‘xenophobic India’ jibe: ‘Talking about immigrants… '

The statement came days after the US called India “xenophobic”. Earlier this month US President Joe Biden called Japan and India “xenophobic” countries that do not welcome immigrants, lumping the two with adversaries China and Russia as he tried to explain their economic circumstances and contrasted the four with America on immigration.

Biden had said that the upcoming US election was about “freedom, America, and democracy” and that the nation's economy was thriving “because of you and many others.”

Biden is off the mark on xenophobia

“Why? Because we welcome immigrants,” Biden said. “Look, think about it. Why is China stalling so badly economically? Why is Japan having trouble? Why is Russia? Why is India? Because they’re xenophobic. They don’t want immigrants," Biden said.

Meanwhile, on Biden's xenophobic remark, Kirby said the president was recently making a broader point.

“I mean, the president was making a broader point here about the vibrancy of our own democracy, here in the United States, and how inclusive and participatory it is,” Kirby said.

'First of all...': Jaishankar corrects Biden after he calls India 'xenophobic'

He added that India-US relationship has strengthened under Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular during the last three years of the Biden administration.

“You saw it on a State visit (last visit). We launched all kinds of new initiatives, working on critical emerging technologies together, and bolstering and expanding the relevance of the Indo-Pacific quad, of course, which India is a part of. And then, just the people to people exchanges, and the military that we share with India,” Kirby said.

“It's a very vibrant, very active partnership. We are grateful for Prime Minister Modi's leadership,” said the White House official.

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