Geostrategic Chessboard – OpEd


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States has sparked discussions and raised concerns about human rights issues in India. While the visit aims to strengthen defense, trade, and technology ties, it also brings attention to the human rights situation in India and the Hindu nationalist politics of Modi’s ruling party. 

Modi’s visit to the US puts the Biden administration to the test, as it raises concerns about human rights abuses in India. Human rights organizations have urged the White House to address these challenges during the visit. However, it is expected that Biden will raise these concerns privately rather than publicly lecturing Modi. The relationship between the US and India extends beyond human rights issues, encompassing common interests in healthcare, climate change, education, and technology. Both countries also share concerns about China’s influence, making the strategic partnership crucial. Nonetheless, critics argue that addressing human rights concerns should be an integral part of the dialogue between the two leaders.

Several human rights concerns have been raised regarding India under Modi’s leadership. Critics highlight issues such as religious freedom, violence against minorities, erosion of democratic principles, and press freedoms. The controversial amendments to India’s citizenship laws have been a subject of criticism, as they are seen as discriminatory. Advocacy groups have expressed concerns about the decline in press freedom, internet shutdowns, and the treatment of dissidents and journalists. These concerns have triggered protests by US rights groups during Modi’s visit. Some US lawmakers and human rights advocates have called for a more robust stance on human rights, highlighting India’s record on religious freedom, civil liberties, and democratic principles. The visit has also faced criticism from those who believe that the US is prioritizing cooperation over addressing rights violations. The outcomes of the visit may shape the perception of the Biden administration’s commitment to promoting democracy and human rights globally.

Despite human rights concerns, the Biden administration views India as a long-term partner in countering China’s influence and tackling global challenges. The Indo-Pacific strategy plays a crucial role in this approach, as India’s strategic positioning allows it to maintain relations with both Russia and the West. India’s shifting defense relationships, with a move away from Russian military equipment, have been noted. The defense roadmap between India and the US is a key aspect of Modi’s visit, highlighting the robust and dynamic defense relationship between the two countries.

Modi’s visit is expected to yield trade and defense deals, with a focus on shared concerns over China’s military aggression. Agreements on jet engine production, the sale of armed drones, and plans to bolster India’s semiconductor industry have been announced. The collaboration between the US and India in defense and semiconductor manufacturing is a significant outcome of the visit. These deals aim to enhance the defense relationship and promote technological cooperation between the two countries.

China has been closely observing the developments surrounding Modi’s visit to the US. The joint statement issued by President Biden and Prime Minister Modi emphasized the importance of a rules-based international order and expressed concerns about coercive actions and attempts to change the status quo by force. While the statement did not directly mention China, it implicitly conveyed a message against its assertive behavior in the Indo-Pacific region. China is likely to view the strengthening of the US-India partnership as a challenge to its regional influence. The deepening defense cooperation and technology partnerships discussed during the visit indicate a growing alignment between the US and India in countering China’s economic and military advancements. As India diversifies its sources of defense equipment away from Russia, this could further strain the China-Russia-India relationship.

Russia’s response to Modi’s visit to the US is influenced by its complex dynamics with both India and the United States. While India has historically been a major buyer of Russian military equipment, Modi’s efforts to reduce India’s reliance on Russian weaponry raise concerns for Moscow. The US-India joint statement expressed concern over the conflict in Ukraine and pledged support for post-conflict reconstruction. This aligns with the US position and highlights Russia’s actions in Ukraine as a point of contention. The evolving defense cooperation between India and the US, including the potential procurement of SeaGuardian drones, signals India’s interest in diversifying its defense suppliers and technology partners. These developments could impact Russia’s defense industry and its relationship with India. However, it is important to note that India and Russia still maintain strong bilateral ties in various areas, including energy cooperation and space exploration.

Dr. Sahibzada Muhammad Usman

Dr. Sahibzada Muhammad Usman is a Research Scholar and Academic; Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Pisa, Italy. Dr. Usman has participated in various national and international conferences and published 30 research articles in international journals.

One thought on “Geostrategic Chessboard – OpEd

  • July 8, 2023 at 2:15 am

    Impresive catchy Headline ‘Geostrategic Chessboard’ but fooling the readers by basically pushing the extreme biased agenda of some such community paid authors at large under the guise of human rights. You are doing a disservice to the world readers who believe in Modi’s India and his leadership. Talking of India’s human rights and titles it as ‘Geostrategic Chessboard’ trying to spread the biased views of hate India by the author.Jealous of rising India.


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