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Business News/ News / World/  Jaishankar slams US for CAA remark: ‘I'm questioning their understanding of our history, as...’

Jaishankar slams US for CAA remark: ‘I'm questioning their understanding of our history, as...’

The US Ambassador to India emphasized the importance of religious freedom and equality, while the External Affairs Minister defended the historical background of the Citizenship Amendment Act.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar. (AP FIle Photo) (HT_PRINT)Premium
External affairs minister S Jaishankar. (AP FIle Photo) (HT_PRINT)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar dismissed the criticism from the United States regarding the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), asserting that the remarks were made without a proper understanding of the law's historical background.

While speaking at the India Today Conclave, EAM further stressed that the CAA was introduced to tackle the challenges arising from the partition and remarked that the global response seems to ignore the historical context of partition. Jaishankar said, “principles of freedom and equality" are prime in a democracy, S Jaishankar said, “I am not questioning the imperfections of their democracy, their principles or lack of it. I am questioning their understanding of our history."

Also Read: Jaishankar defends CAA in Brussels as he promotes India-EU ties

The US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, speaking at the India Today Conclave on Friday said that the United States can't give up on principles and principles of religious freedom and equality are a cornerstone of democracy.

Speaking on this, S Jaishankar said, “I have principles too, and one of my principles is an obligation to people who were let down at the time of partition".

“If you are saying you are picking some faiths and not other faiths, I will give you many examples from across the world," Jaishankar said and mentioned the Jackson–Vanik amendment, Lautenberg Amendment, Spector Amendment and so on that fast-tracked citizenships for specific ethics minorities such as Jews and Christians.

What is the Jackson-Vanik amendment?

In 1951, the United States suspended the most-favoured-nation (MFN) status to the Soviet Union and other communist nations, excluding Yugoslavia. Under international trade rules, the MFN principle ensures equal treatment of goods and services from all countries with this status, avoiding discrimination, as stated by the CRS report.

Also Read: US comments on CAA ‘misplaced, misinformed and unwarranted’: India

In 1974, the Jackson-Vanik Amendment barred the restoration of specific commercial relations with any non-market economy (NME) that prohibited or severely restricted its citizens' freedom to emigrate.

Lautenberg Amendment

In 1990, the Lautenberg Amendment was introduced, setting a lower evidentiary requirement for refugee status applications for specific groups, such as Jews and certain Christian minorities from the former Soviet Union, along with individuals from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Meanwhile, in 2004, the Specter Amendment expanded the scope to include certain Iranian religious minorities experiencing heightened discrimination, arrests, and imprisonment. This comprised Jews, Armenian and Assyrian Christians, Baha’is, Sabaean-Mandaeans, and Zoroastrians.

Also Read: Supreme Court to hear pleas seeking stay on Citizenship Amendment Act rules on March 19

Earlier on Friday, US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters at his daily briefing, “We are concerned about the notification of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on March 11. We are closely monitoring how this act will be implemented. Respect for religious freedom and equal treatment under the law for all communities are fundamental democratic principles."

However, this is not the first time, Jaishankar has defended CAA. During the European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels in February 2020, EAM compared the CAA rules to immigration and refugee resettlement policies across Europe, pointing out that many EU countries also use national or cultural criteria.

“Now, they did it with a context and they did it with a criteria. I mean, no European country said: 'Anybody anytime, anywhere in the world can come because they feel it's nice to live in Europe'."

Without mentioning Pakistan by name, he said some of India's neighbours have Islam as a state religion, “and there are persecuted religious minorities who came to India because many of them find people have the same faith."

The Central government enacted the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 on Monday, just days before the announcement of the Lok Sabha election schedule. CAA will facilitate the provision of citizenship to undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who arrived in India before December 31, 2014.

Also Read: ‘Lectures by those who…’: India reacts to US ‘concerned’ remark on CAA

Under the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019, individuals who have migrated to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh before December 31, 2014, citing "religious persecution," and belong to six specific religious minorities - Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian - are eligible for citizenship.

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Mausam Jha
A journalist covering International Relations, and Business.
Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
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Published: 17 Mar 2024, 12:04 PM IST
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