VOA reported in August 2023

US Official Calls Religious Intolerance in India 'Frightening'

[...] "India has done better in the past and has to change course because the cycle of downward spiral in a country of that importance and the number of people who are involved. It is quite frightening," Rabbi Abraham Cooper, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, or USCIRF, told lawmakers on Tuesday.

"Religious discrimination should not be a matter of national pride," he said.

The USCIRF has recommended that India, along with Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria and Vietnam, be added to the U.S. government's list of Countries of Particular Concern, or CPC, because of the worsening limits on religious freedom in these countries. [...]

The scathing criticism comes only weeks after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the White House and addressed a joint session of Congress.

In 2005, the U.S. State Department revoked Modi's tourist/business visa because of his alleged role in religious and communal violence in the Indian Gujarat state in 2002. [...]

Last year, the U.S. government did not list India as a country of particular concern despite a USCIRF recommendation to do so.

What's the factual basis of the USCIRF recommendation, and why is the White House not following that recommendation? (VOA alas sheds not much light on either.)

2 Answers 2


Because they don't want to upset India, when it's a counterweight to China.

Simply put, the government of India is that of a Hindu ethnostate. However, India also provides a lot of military and economic power that can be used to counter the growing regional power of China. If a war with Cina were to occur, the US would want India to join them fighting China, or at least remain neutral, rather than joining a formal alliance with China.

India's foreign policy has largely been to remain neutral between the large power blocs of the world, but if they condemn India for religious intolerance, then they might push India to more closely ally with Russia and China.

  • calling the government a "hindu ethnostate" is objectively untrue and reeks of uninformedness propagated by western media. Hinduism (or whatever the westerns have labelled it) is not even restricted to or encompasses all of one ethnicity. None of the laws of the republic discriminate against Indian citizens who are not hindu.
    – whoisit
    Commented Jan 28 at 16:39
  • 1
    @whoisit India is a democracy in name only. Modi is in control, and he clearly runs it for the benefit of Hindus.
    – nick012000
    Commented Jan 28 at 21:13
  • and what evidence do you have of that false claim?
    – whoisit
    Commented Jan 28 at 23:52
  • There are n-number of news reports from India about how non-Hindus are discriminated. But they are written by biased left politicians from the Congress bloc. Commented Jan 30 at 1:32
  • 1
    @whoisit "None of the laws ..." --> They also "discriminate positively" regarding Dalits and other less well regarded castes. BUT anyone who can wander through India and not see beyond doubt the discrimination against such people must in fact have been wandering through some other country. Or have been blind and deaf, at least conceptually in the relevant areas. Commented Jan 30 at 4:44

I think some of the claims of USCIRF are extraordinary. I think "transnational repression" by the Indian state need more evidence. Additionally, it is difficult to prove intention in the alleged persecution by the Indian state because of the legitimate security concerns with respect to few groups.

The actions of state department if seem in broader lens of international politics makes sense atleast from a realist perspective, because both India and US has shared interests. Values rarely trump interests in international politics.

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