External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the observation on India in the report is based on 'motivated inputs and biased views'

A day after President Joe Biden’s administration tacitly criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for attacks against places of worship in India, New Delhi on Friday sought to turn the table and expressed concern over racially and ethnically motivated attacks, hate crimes and gun violence in the United States.

New Delhi also accused the Biden Administration of practising “vote-bank politics” in international relations.

Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday stated that India, the world’s largest democracy and home to a great diversity of faiths, had seen rising attacks on people and places of worship. He made the remark after releasing the US State Department’s 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom in Washington DC.

Rashad Hussain, the US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, said that some officials in India were “ignoring or even supporting rising attacks on people and places of worship”.

The US State Department’s report itself also highlighted purported rise in religious intolerance in India.

India strongly reacted not only to the report but also to the comments made by the US officials.

“We have noted the release of the US State Department 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom, and ill-informed comments by senior US officials,” Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said in New Delhi.

He said that it was unfortunate that vote bank politics was being practised in international relations.

“We would urge that assessments based on motivated inputs and biased views be avoided,” said Bagchi, rejecting the allegations made by Blinken and Hussain.

“As a naturally pluralistic society, India values religious freedom and human rights. In our discussions with the US, we have regularly highlighted issues of concern there, including racially and ethnically motivated attacks, hate crimes and gun violence,” added the MEA spokesperson.

The Biden Administration had been tacitly conveying to New Delhi concerns in the US over the perception that India was backsliding on human rights, freedom of speech and religion and democratic principles.

The US President, himself, as well as his Vice President Kamala Harris, had subtly nudged the prime minister to protect the democratic principles of India, when they had hosted him in Washington DC on September 24 last year.

Sharing the podium with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Washington D.C. on April 11, Blinken too said that the US was monitoring violation of human rights in India.