India is not xenophobic, minister responds to Joe Biden

India is not xenophobic, India’s foreign minister said, responding to a remark by US President Joe Biden suggesting that this country, among others, was experiencing economic problems because it refused immigration.

“First of all, our economy is not in difficulty,” S. Jaishankar said during a meeting with the media on Friday, according to comments reported by the press on Saturday. “India is a very unique country. I would even say that in fact, in the history of the world, it is a society that has always been very open… different people, from different societies, come to India “, he added, according to the Economic Times newspaper.

India is one of the countries with the fastest growing economy in the world, with growth of 8.4% in the last quarter of 2023, according to official statistics.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has been accused of discrimination against Muslims, particularly over the new citizenship law that critics say could allow some Muslims to be stripped of their citizenship. “There are people who say that a million Muslims will lose their citizenship in this country. And why is no one holding them to account? Because no one has lost their citizenship,” denounced Mr. Jaishankar.

At a campaign meeting on Wednesday, Mr. Biden lumped together his allies Japan and India and his rivals China and Russia, saying the four economic powers were in trouble due to of their refusal to accept immigrants. “Why is China so stalled economically? Why is Japan having problems? What about Russia? What about India? Because they are xenophobic. They don’t want immigrants,” said the American president.

Japan reacted on Saturday by calling the accusation of xenophobia “regrettable” and erroneous.

Since taking office in 2021, Mr Biden has sought to strengthen US ties with its allies in Asia, particularly India and Japan. In particular, he received in Washington for state dinners – a rare mark of diplomatic favor – the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Japanese Fumio Kishida.

The White House quickly sought to attenuate this unexpected criticism of allies, explaining that “the point of view the president defended” was above all “that the United States is a country of immigrants.”

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