Why Are Indians Unhappy With Modi's Reception in Washington?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Washington on September 23rd for a bilateral meeting with President Joseph R. Biden followed by a 4-nation summit involving Australia, India, Japan and the United States.  An unhappy meme of his visit went viral on social media as Mr. Modi wrapped up his visit to the United States. 

Modi Washington Visit Meme

It highlights four key complaints about how the Indian prime minister was treated by the White House:

1. President Biden did not receive Prime Minister Modi at the White House porch. This is in sharp contrast to the reception President Donald J. Trump gave Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan during the latter's visit in 2019. President Trump greeted Prime Minister Khan in the driveway as the latter emerged from his car. 

2. US media did not cover Modi's visit. (Pakistan's Imran Khan was on the Newsweek cover while Modi was in Washington). The media coverage Modi did receive in the US media was about lectures from the US leaders. 
3. Kamala Harris reminded Modi of the pressing need for real democracy in India. Here's an excerpts of the US Vice President's remarks released by the White House:  "Finally, as democracies around the world are under threat, it is imperative that we defend democratic principles and institutions within our respective countries and around the world and that we maintain what we must do to strengthen democracies at home. And it is incumbent on our nations to, of course, protect democracies in the best interest of the people of our countries". 
4. Joseph Biden lectured Modi on tolerance.  The President said to the Prime Minister: "As the world celebrates Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday next week, we’re all reminded that his message of non-violence, respect, tolerance matters today maybe more than it ever has". 
President Biden offered a back-handed compliment to the Indian media when he said at the White House: "The Indian press is much better behaved than the American press...And I think, with your permission, we should not answer questions because they won't ask any questions on point" . 
Biden may have said this to help Modi evade tough questions from the press that the Indian Prime Minister can not answer. He has never held an open press conference nor has he ever agreed to be interviewed by independent journalists. 
Here's a video clip of Biden's statement to the White House press corps before the beginning of the closed-door meeting with Mr. Modi:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/scY3O3WM8Mg"; title="YouTube video player" width="560"></iframe>" height="315" src="https://img1.blogblog.com/img/video_object.png" width="560" style="cursor: move; background-color: #b2b2b2;" />

Here's a video clip showing what Modi doesn't like about facing tough questions like why he didn't even express regret about massacre of Muslims in Gujarat:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/S5dkpUn5tNo"; title="YouTube video player" width="560"></iframe>" height="315" src="https://img1.blogblog.com/img/video_object.png" width="560" style="cursor: move; background-color: #b2b2b2;" />


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Comment by Riaz Haq on September 27, 2021 at 7:37am

#Hindu Mobs, anti-#Muslim Boycotts: In #Modi’s #India, the Echoes of 1930s #Nazi Germany Are Growing Louder. Real threat to India is from a radicalizing Hindu majority fueled by the increasingly brazen, violent anti-Muslim bigotry of Modi’s own #BJP party. https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium-for-muslims-in-modi-s-i...

by Debashish Roy Chowdhury

https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium-for-muslims-in-modi-s-i...

In reality, the radicalization of the majority is a much bigger threat confronting India than minority extremism.

Lynching of Muslims by Hindu mobs have become so normalized that they rarely make news anymore. New laws against beef and interfaith love – termed "love jihad" by Modi’s party – now allow Hindu vigilante groups to attack Muslims with impunity. A pliant civil administration and police force mostly look away, if they’re not actively collaborating with the vigilantes.

Ever since Modi’s thumping re-election in 2019, he has doubled down on the Hindu majoritarian project of remaking India’s secular republic as a Hindu state, and arm’s-length vigilante groups allied with the ruling party’s Hindu-first world view play a significant role in asserting the new order.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 27, 2021 at 8:09am

#Hindu Mobs, anti-#Muslim Boycotts: In #Modi’s #India, the Echoes of 1930s #Nazi Germany Are Growing Louder. Real threat to India is from a radicalizing Hindu majority fueled by the increasingly brazen, violent anti-Muslim bigotry of Modi’s own #BJP party. https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium-for-muslims-in-modi-s-i...

by Debashish Roy Chowdhury

Atrocious hate crimes and speeches by these (Hindu) fundamentalist groups offer a daily reminder to the Muslims of the new social hierarchy in a changing India, where Muslims can at best hope to be second-class citizens.

It’s the new normal in the "New India," a term that Modi’s supporters use as shorthand for a golden era under an efficient and muscular Hindu leaderwho is ending corruption, bringing prosperity and showing Muslims their place in the Hindu-majority country.

When Modi bid for national power in 2014, he ran on a campaign of inclusive growth, with the slogan of "development for all." But overseeing an economy that has progressively worsened under him, Modi has returned to his core competence of divisive politics to maintain support in the face of the death and destruction as a result of his poor handling of COVID.

The core messaging that emanates these days from Hindu supremacists is that development is not possible for all because Muslims, who constitute 14 percent of the population, are eating up the fruits of progress that should accrue to the Hindus, who account for 80 percent. Quite literally. Recently, the chief minister of India’s biggest state, Uttar Pradesh, which has a population the size of Brazil, triggered a controversy when he blamed Muslims for cornering the government-subsidized food meant for all.


For Modi’s party, openly Islamophobic campaigns such as these help to avoid scrutiny and debate over governance and turn elections into a referendum for protecting the supposedly endangered majority. With the politically important Uttar Pradesh heading for elections in less than six months, the same strategy is at play again, only this time with an added twist and urgency.

Uttar Pradesh is a must-win state for Modi. It contributes the most seats to the Parliament and is the epicentre of the Hindu nationalist movement over a mosque that Hindu fanatics demolished in 1992, turning the BJP into a national political force from a fringe party. The BJP won the last election in the state in 2017 on the promise of building a Hindu temple at the site of the razed mosque. Modi inaugurated the temple in 2020, calling it a "symbol of [India’s] nationalism."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs the groundbreaking ceremony of a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Ram, watched by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, right, in Ayodhya, last year

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 27, 2021 at 8:10am

#Hindu Mobs, anti-#Muslim Boycotts: In #Modi’s #India, the Echoes of 1930s #Nazi Germany Are Growing Louder. Real threat to India is from a radicalizing Hindu majority fueled by the increasingly brazen, violent anti-Muslim bigotry of Modi’s own #BJP party. https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium-for-muslims-in-modi-s-i...

by Debashish Roy Chowdhury

Anything short of a convincing victory in Uttar Pradesh will jeopardize Modi’s dream march. Be it the COVID catastrophe, the farmers’ protests or the crashing economy, Modi has so far weathered it all.

But the slightest sign of cracks in Uttar Pradesh will undo the carefully crafted image of invincibility, built in large measure by a combination of docile media coverage, ruthless use of force, surveillance and intimidation against dissenters and a steady drip of ever more audacious levels of bigotry that act to both distract and divide voters.

With not much to show for its last five years in the state, the memories of COVID losses and hardships still raw, and an intensifying farmers’ protest that threatens splits in its captive Hindu voter base, the BJP is left with no choice but to escalate its campaign of hate. Accordingly, radical supremacists calling for genocide are becoming increasingly common. Videos of small groups of self-appointed saviors of Hinduism tormenting lone Muslims are showing up on social media more often than before.

Many of these attacks are now aimed at driving Muslims out of their livelihoods and businesses. While Modi waxes eloquent on global forums on the need for "rational thinking" to counter radicalization, Hindu fanatics linked to his party have been warning salons and shops against hiring Muslim men.

A group of Hindu men set upon a Muslim bangle seller in the northern city of Indore last month. They did not take kindly to him interacting with Hindu women.

The bangle seller was guilty of just the kind of "dangerous" encounter a prominent supremacist leader connected to the BJP (whose self-declared mission is to "remove Muslims from the face of Earth") has been warning of – Muslim vendors, plumbers and electricians visiting Hindu homes and gaining proximity to the women of the household while the men are away at work.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 27, 2021 at 8:10am

#Hindu Mobs, anti-#Muslim Boycotts: In #Modi’s #India, the Echoes of 1930s #Nazi Germany Are Growing Louder. Real threat to India is from a radicalizing Hindu majority fueled by the increasingly brazen, violent anti-Muslim bigotry of Modi’s own #BJP party. https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium-for-muslims-in-modi-s-i...

by Debashish Roy Chowdhury

Muslim hawkers have faced random attacks and been driven out of Hindu villages. In the capital Delhi itself, there have been concerted campaigns to boycott Muslim vendors and businesses.

In the northeastern state of Assam, where Modi’s party has dehumanized Muslims by calling them "termites" who eat away the country’s resources, the government is now evicting them from their homes to give the land away for farming to "indigenous" people. The ruthless eviction drivelast week led to shocking killings of poor Muslims.

‘Terror Force’ of fascist, communal & bigoted Govt. shooting at its own citizens. Also, who is the person with camera? Someone from our ‘Great Media’ orgs?

The appeal of these villagers, against eviction, is pending in the High Court. Couldn’t the Govt wait till court order? pic.twitter.com/XI5N0FSjJd

— Ashraful Hussain (@AshrafulMLA) September 23, 2021
Muslims, the most economically disadvantaged group and grossly underrepresented in the formal economy, are often found engaged in low-end casual work or self-employment in the informal economy. These growing attacks thus threaten to hit one of the most vulnerable sections of the Indian population.

Big businesses are feeling the heat, too. A Bangalore-based food start-up owned by a Muslim entrepreneur had to issue an official denial this month after a social media campaign to boycott its products for using cattle bones as ingredients and employing only Muslims, both outrageously unfounded allegations.

So now, the Islamic Economic system (Halalonomics) has crept into our Secular system. Now the Halal certification is no longer limited to meats, but touches every sphere of our daily lives – like meats, packaged foods, medicines, beauty products etc.#HalalEconomy_NationalThreatpic.twitter.com/1U7XD57tv2

— HinduJagrutiOrg (@HinduJagrutiOrg) September 18, 2021
Persistent attacks on the meat and leather trades, through lynching and cattle seizures, have been common since Modi took power. They have had a crippling effect on small-time traders and intermediaries in the meat business, who happen to be mostly Muslims. Of late, big companies involved in the meat business are also being targeted by online campaigns branding halal certification as a form of "economic jihad" that ought to be resisted by Hindus.

The economic attacks on Muslims may still appear too dispersed and episodic to raise fears of a concerted state campaign to formally exclude Muslims. Modi’s India hasn’t yet reached the stage of the Judenboykott, the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses that formally started in 1933 before slowly gathering pace, leading ultimately to the mass murder of Jews in the "final solution."

But even the Judenboykott did not come about overnight. In the 1920s, boycotting Jewish businesses began to be normalized by Germany’s right-wing parties at the regional level, long before it became declared state policy.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York this weekend. EDUARDO MUNOZ - AFP
Under a party born of a nearly 100-year-old Hindu nationalist movement inspiredby 20th century European ethnonationalism, is India heading the same way?

We don’t know yet. But it’s a question worth posing to Modi as he steps out into the world this week after a gap of more than a year. Just in case it is, the world needs to know – if it doesn’t want to be caught unawares, again.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 27, 2021 at 9:52am

#Modi #Bhakts making up #fakenews to spin failed visit. New York Times didn’t feature Modi on front page or call him ‘last hope’. Image is fake. In fact, the 26 September front page of the newspaper did not feature any story on PM Modi. https://theprint.in/hoaxposed/new-york-times-didnt-feature-modi-on-... via @ThePrintIndia

A screenshot of what looks like the front page of the US daily The New York Times, featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been doing the rounds on social media and WhatsApp groups.

The screenshot features a large photograph of PM Modi along with the headline “Last, Best Hope of Earth” and the strap “World’s most loved and most powerful leader is here to bless us”, referring to Modi’s US visit on 24-25 September. The edition is dated 26 September 2021.

The image of the purported NYT front page was circulated en masse on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp group chats, with messages like “Proud of my PM” accompanying it.

National general secretary of the BJP Youth Wing, Rohit Chahal, who has over 76,000 followers, also retweeted the screenshot posted by another user.

One WhatsApp forward of the photograph states: “Modi ji on the frontpage of the United States’ biggest newspaper. What could be a greater matter of pride than this?”

Fact check
The screenshot in circulation, however, is not the front page of The New York Times. In fact, the 26 September front page of the newspaper did not feature any story on PM Modi.

Furthermore, none of the social media posts provided an accompanying URL that linked to the newspaper page.

A closer look at the screenshot itself, as well as the pattern of social media posts, also reveals that the image is morphed.

The font style of the headline in the screenshot does not match the NYT stylesheet, which proves that the image has been altered. The date of the story also features a typo — 26 “Setpember” instead of 26 September.

The image of PM Modi used in the fake front page appears to have been taken from a Zee News story published last month, titled, “PM Modi to chair UNSC high-level open debate on enhancing maritime security.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 27, 2021 at 8:22pm

What the likes of Republic TV & Zee News won’t tell you. Modi’s visit was presented as a major world event by #Indian media & huge success but there was barely any mention of #Modi's visit in #US #media except as footnote under #QuadSummit. #GodiMedia https://www.newslaundry.com/2021/09/27/pm-modis-us-visit-what-the-l...

A major world event and a huge success — but only by the Indian media for their audience back home.

-----------

The media reactions to the visit and its aftermath followed the usual playbook. Republic TV made it sound like Modi was the only foreign dignitary to speak at the UNGA. Zee News ran with silly stories of “Josh high in Washington,” and breathless accounts of a grand welcome home. Aaj Tak was keen to emphasise how this trip had many firsts. Times Now presented it as a pivotal geopolitical moment.

-------------------

Some things do not change. Even in 2019, PM Modi’s visit was presented as a major world event and a huge success but only by the Indian media for their audience back home, but it barely registered as a footnote in the US media. Then too, as Shoaib Danyal put it, “jingoism took precedence over factual reporting about the UN session”. There was barely a mention of the Modi visit in the US media save a brief mention in the context of the QUAD meeting, much to the surprise of Aaj Tak anchor Anjana Om Kashyap who tried flicking through a selection of US papers on air to spot coverage of the Modi visit.

Indeed very few Indian media outlets, if any at all, took the trouble to research what the 76th UNGA was about, and what the stand was of the other world leaders who also addressed the General Assembly. A cursory search on Google would have led even a rookie journalist to a wealth of information about the agenda, background papers, and issues before the UN.

Instead they focused exclusively and breathlessly on the 20-minute long address by PM Modi on September 25. The speech itself was as might have been expected. It sounded like a robust and combative defense of the Indian Government’s record in office in the last seven years; set against a backdrop of statements about India as an ancient democratic civilisation that inherently valued diversity, individual freedom, development, trade, openness and peace.

There was the obligatory reference to terrorism, of course, and how a certain neighbour sought to rely on terrorism rather than development to further its political aims.

Speaking in Hindi with instantaneous translation by the UN team into several languages, Modi’s speech at the UN was not the eagerly anticipated address that Indian media channels would have you believe. It was left to social media and Twitter handles to point out the preponderance of vacant seats in the assembly Hall

In the final analysis, it depends very much on the newspaper you read or the TV news you watch to get a feel for how important or influential the Indian PM’s visit to the US was. Perhaps, the truth is somewhere between the breathless fawning coverage of the TV channels that are beholden to the Government for its largesse and the somewhat cynical view expressed in this tweet thread.

Such visits by the head of the country’s government to gatherings of major world leaders are important and necessary, even if not essential — because not to make the effort to travel and be seen would be an own goal. But part of the magic is to manage expectations, say the right things at the right time, but to do so in an understated manner that does not make the audience cynical. But perhaps the most important thing is to be accessible to the world’s press.

This visit to the United States was the 6th by Mr Modi. And while there were many ‘firsts’ that his supporters claimed for it, regrettably it was not the first foreign trip in which the Indian Prime Minister gave a press conference.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 28, 2021 at 10:48am

Is #Indian press better behaved than the #American press, as #Biden said to #Modi at #WhiteHouse? Fact: "The Indian press is ranked 142nd in the world, according to Reporters Without Borders on press freedom" #ModiInAmerica #ModiBornToDestroyDemocracy https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/white-house-defends-bi...

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday faced a number of questions on Biden's comments.

Psaki said: "I think what he (Biden) said is that they (American journalists) are not always “on point.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 30, 2021 at 6:07pm

Ganging up on #China ‘is doomed to fail’, #Beijing’s ambassador tells #India. At #QuadSummit last week, leaders of #US, #Australia , #Japan and India repeated their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region “undaunted by coercion” #Modi #Biden
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3150762/ganging-c...

India should maintain “strategic autonomy” instead of joining any exclusive alliances against its neighbour, Beijing’s top envoy in New Delhi said, days after leaders of the Quad gathered in Washington for their first in-person summit, with Beijing a veiled target.
Without naming the US-led Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or its members, Sun Weidong said any attempts to “gang up for containing and suppressing China” would “be doomed to fail”.

“It is worth noting that a few countries are going against the trend,” Sun told more than 100 representatives from business, culture and academic communities in India during a virtual meeting on Wednesday.

“Out of selfishness, they hold a zero-sum cold war mentality, vigorously seek closed and exclusive ideological ‘small cliques’ and military alliances targeting a third party, stoke arms races, tension, division and bloc confrontation, turn the Asia-Pacific into an arena of major powers’ game and destabilise the world,” he said, according to a transcript published on the embassy’s website.
“These activities will find no support and lead nowhere.”

India should “maintain its strategic autonomy and refrain from joining closed and exclusive ‘alliances’ or ‘quasi-alliances’ against each other”, Sun said.
During the summit in Washington last week, the four leaders of the United States, Australia, Japan and India repeated their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region “undaunted by coercion”, a thinly veiled criticism of China.
“We stand for the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values and territorial integrity of states,” the Quad leaders said in a joint statement after the summit.
Beijing is deeply concerned about “cliques” that it sees as part of Washington’s strategy to contain China’s growing influence in the region.

Relations between India and China have worsened since June last year when Chinese and Indian troops engaged in a deadly hand-to-hand skirmish on their disputed border in the western Himalayas. At least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers died in the clashes, the deadliest in decades. Little progress has been made since the two militaries started negotiations – with the latest round in August – and a stand-off continues.
There have been reports that the two sides have been stepping up military build-up along the disputed borders, fuelling fears they could clash again before winter.

On Wednesday, Sun said that although it was normal for the two countries to have differences, they should manage disputes and move towards stability together.
“We should place the border issues in the right place in bilateral relations and seek a fair and reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through equal consultation,” Sun said.
He called for further efforts to boost cooperation on the pandemic fight, energy security and climate change as well as bilateral trade, which reached US$78.5 billion in the first eight months of the year, up 52 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 1, 2021 at 8:02am

#India, #US to raise #military interoperability, agree to establish Indo-US #Industrial #Security Joint Working Group for defence industries of the two nations to collaborate on cutting edge military technologies. #Russia #China #Pakistan https://www.deccanherald.com/national/india-us-to-raise-military-in... @deccanherald

(Gen Bipin) Rawat and (General) Milley discussed a range of issues, including ways to ensure regional security and their respective roles as principal military advisors to civilian leadership. They also agreed to continue cooperation in training exercises and creating opportunities to increase interoperability between the two militaries, Col. Dave Butler, a spokesperson of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said.


(India-US Joint) working group to expeditiously align policies and procedures allowing defence industries of the two nations to collaborate on cutting edge military technologies.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 4, 2021 at 1:34pm

Is #India Headed for Anti-Muslim Genocide? #Modi’s #BJP has created a deep sense of #Hindu victimhood, stoking the othering of #Muslims via #disinformation, #hatespeech, silencing progressives, and empowering Hindu supremacist vigilante groups. #HIndutva https://time.com/6103284/india-hindu-supremacy-extremism-genocide-b...


Indian leaders love to talk up Mahatma Gandhi when they travel abroad. It plays well to the popular notion of India as a land of peace and love, and boosts its moral authority as a responsible democracy on the world stage. So, Gandhi and his ideas came up a lot as Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped out of India recently for the first time in about one and a half years.

Meeting Modi at the White House on Sept. 24, President Joe Biden said Gandhi’s “message of non-violence, respect, and tolerance matters today maybe more than it ever has.” In his own speech to the United Nations, Modi rued that “the world faces the threat of regressive thinking and extremism,” and underlined his country’s democratic credentials. To reinforce his point, he even coined a new sobriquet for India: “the mother of all democracies.”

No one knows what that means, least of all one Indian mother still trying to make sense of the death of her 12-year-old boy. He was felled by a stray police bullet in the northeastern state of Assam at the same time as Modi was pontificating in America.


“They killed my son,” a dazed Hasina Bano kept repeating between sobs when journalists visited her at a remote village on the banks of the Brahmaputra river. The boy, Sheikh Farid, was hit when police opened fire at Bengali Muslim villagers protesting the forced eviction from their land that the government now wants to give to Assamese Hindus, whom it calls the “indigenous community.” Ironically, moments before Farid died, he had collected from the post office a national biometric identification card establishing his own indigeneity.

The death of a child in such a manner should be the stuff of national disgrace. But the same eviction drive resulted in even more horror when a neighbor of Farid charged at the police with a stick, in a blind rage after they dismantled his home along with those of 5,000 others. The heavily armed policemen, who far outnumbered Moinul Hoque and could have easily subdued him, instead shot him dead at point blank range.

It was all captured on a widely circulated video [Warning: Graphic and distressing scenes]. The images show police raining baton blows on him even as he collapsed, taking turns with Bijoy Baniya, a Hindu photographer accompanying the police team. As Hoque’s life ebbs away, Baniya fiendishly jumps and stomps on his motionless body in an “act of performative depravity.”

Baniya is merely the latest face of India’s state-driven Hindu radicalization. In a country where 84% of the population is Hindu, and just 14% Muslim, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has achieved the astonishing feat of creating a deep sense of Hindu victimhood, stoking the othering of Muslims via disinformation, hate speech, opening old religious wounds, manipulating a servile media, silencing progressive voices, and empowering Hindu supremacist vigilante groups. “Hindu khatre mein hain” (Hindus are in danger) is a right-wing refrain that resonates deeply today.


As a result, many Hindus have now been persuaded to believe that India’s biggest problem is its Muslims. Before Modi took over in 2014, most citizens thought their chief concerns were poverty, insufficient economic growth and corruption. He rode to power on the promise to fix all that. But as the economy has continued to worsen, and unemployment and poverty have risen under him, the BJP has increasingly fallen back on supremacist politics to deflect attention and evade responsibility. To keep winning elections, it needs to keep polarizing Hindu voters against Muslims, and spinning ever more outrageous campaigns to demonize Muslims.

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