Responding to a media inquiry about a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has drawn controversy since its release, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday, “I am not aware of the documentary you are referring to, however, I am I am acutely aware of the shared values that make the United States and India such thriving and vibrant democracies.”
There are many elements that underpin the global strategic partnership of the United States with India that include political, economic and exceptionally deep people-to-people ties, Price said at a news conference on Monday (local time).
Describing India’s democracy as a vibrant democracy, he said, “We look forward to all that binds us together, and we look forward to strengthening all those elements that bind us together.” He also emphasized the diplomatic relations that the US and India share with each other.
He also stressed the fact that the partnership the US shares with India is exceptionally deep and that both countries share the common values of American democracy and Indian democracy.
“I’m not aware of that documentary you’re referring to, but I will say broadly, is that there are a number of elements that underpin the global strategic partnership that we have with our Indian partners.
There are close political ties, there are economic ties, and there are exceptionally deep people-to-people ties between the United States and India. But one of those additional elements is the values that we share in the common values of American democracy and Indian democracy.”
Last week, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended Prime Minister Narendra Modi and distanced himself from the BBC series of documentaries, saying he “does not agree with the characterization” of his Indian counterpart.
Mr Sunak made these remarks on the controversial documentary film raised in the British Parliament by Pakistani-origin MP Imran Hussain.
“The UK Government’s position on this has been clear and longstanding and unchanged, of course, we do not tolerate persecution where it appears anywhere, but I’m not sure I agree at all with the characterization put forward by the Honorable Sir to,” said Mr Sunak while replying to Hussein’s question in the BBC report.
The BBC broadcast a two-part series attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat during the 2002 Gujarat riots. The documentary sparked outrage and was removed from select platforms.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to the BBC story by claiming that it was entirely biased.
While addressing the weekly speaker in New Delhi, a spokesperson for Middle East Airlines
Arindam Bagchi said: “We think this is a propaganda piece
subjectivity. This is biased. Do note that this has not been screened in India.
We don’t want to respond further to this so that this doesn’t get too much dignity.”
He even raised questions about “the purpose of the exercise and the agenda behind it”.
He added, “The documentary is a reflection on the agency and the individuals who are promoting this narrative once again. It makes us question the point of the exercise and the agenda behind it, and frankly we don’t want to honor those efforts.”
Referring to remarks made by former UK minister Jack Straw in the documentary series, Mr Bagge said “it appears he (Jack Straw) is referring to some internal reporting in the UK. How do I get to that? He’s 20 years old” report . Why do we turn to him now? Just because Jack Straw says it how do they give him that much legitimacy.”
“I’ve heard words like investigation and investigations. There’s a reason we use the colonial mentality. We don’t use the words loosely. What investigation were they diplomats there… investigation, are they ruling the country?” asked Mr. Baghi.
Prominent British citizens of Indian descent condemned the series. Prominent British citizen Lord Ramey Ranger said that “the BBC has done a great deal of harm to more than a billion Indians”.
Moreover, the US State Department spokesperson also said that the US has always advocated regional stability in South Asia and its relations with India and Pakistan stand on their own.
He further stated that the pace and scope of dialogue between India and Pakistan is clearly a matter for both countries.
We have long called for regional stability in South Asia. Our relations with India and Pakistan stand alone and we do not see them as zero. “The speed, scope and character of any dialogue between India and Pakistan is a matter for both countries,” Price said during the press conference.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by the NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)