Biden Puts Human Rights Issues Behind Him

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit has led to many people criticizing President Biden and his administration for not placing enough attention on human rights.

In the visit, President Biden refrained from criticizing Modi’s handling of human rights or the concerns regarding his approach to democracy, which has now led to some progressive lawmakers boycotting his speech in a joint address to Congress.

President Biden was warm in his welcome to Modi and even arranged a state dinner and a 21-gun salute with multiple White House guests. This is not the first time that President Biden has been criticized over his diplomatic relations. Last July he had been criticized for a fist bump with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his visit to Jeddah. Many advocates argued that with his move, Biden had in essence completely ignored the human rights abuses that Saudi’s government is responsible for.

Regarding Modi’s visit, White House officials have maintained that difficult conversations with allies are more constructive when held in private. Biden in a press conference with Modi on Thursday argued that the two of them had had a productive conversation “about democratic values” adding that the two respected one another.

However, critics have argued that this approach does not add a lot of pressure on leaders to change their ways. Modi in particular has faced a lot of criticism for not addressing anti-Muslim hate and for his handling of press freedom and civil liberties. All of these are essential aspects of a democracy.

In his campaign, Biden had placed a lot of attention on human rights, especially in his handling of foreign policy, and claimed that he would push to strengthen democracy not only across the nation but also internationally.

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