25 February 2020   Leave a comment

US President Trump visited India in a whirlwind trip, capped off by a very large rally of over 100,000 people. While the meetings between Trump and Indian Prime Minister Modi were going on, there were also large protests against the new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which grants Indian citizenship to people being persecuted for religious reasons in three neighboring countries–except for persecuted Muslims. These protests have been going on for some time, but they were quite violent while Mr. Trump was visiting, with ten killed and 150 injured. According to Reuters:

“The CAA has sparked accusations that Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party are undermining India’s secular traditions. The BJP denies any bias against India’s more than 180 million minority Muslims but objectors have staging protests and camping out in parts of New Delhi for two months.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi discussed a large arms deal worth about $3 billion that included Apache and Romeo MH-60 helicopters. There was no agreement, however, on a proposed trade deal. Trade has been a sore spot between the two states since 2018 when the US slapped tariffs on some Indian exports. Mr. Trump is popular in India with approval ratings around 50%. Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi identify themselves as nationalists. Unfortunately, Mr. Trump did not use the occasion to criticize the discriminatory aspects of the CAA:

‘Trump, asked several times about Modi’s support for the new law, praised the Indian leader.

“’He wants people to have religious freedom,’ Trump insisted. ‘They have really worked hard on religious freedom.’

‘Trump appeared to back Modi’s concern that the majority-Hindu country is being overrun by Muslims.

“’He told me, I guess they have 200 plus, 200 million Muslims in India, and a fairly short while ago, they had 14 million,’ Trump said.

“India had about 35 million Muslims in 1951, according to the first census after independence, or about 9.8% of the population. The 201 million Muslims today are 14.2% of the population.

“Later, Trump was asked again about the citizenship law. ‘I don’t want to discuss that, and hopefully they’re going to make the right decision for the people,’ he said.”

The lack of criticism is not surprising given Mr. Trump’s antipathy toward Muslims.

Posted February 25, 2020 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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