New Delhi: US Senator Ben Cardin - the ranking democrat on the senate foreign relations committee - has handed a tough report card on India ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Washington, scheduled for next week.
- Senator Cardin said how a nation treats its women is a barometer
- He quoted from Global Slavery Index, which says India has a poor record
- He said tackling corruption will also help India address these concerns
At a speech at the University of Chicago Centre in Delhi today, Senator Cardin said while the US is looking forward to the Prime Minister's visit, India needs to address issues like extra judicial killings, religious intolerance and human trafficking.
"How a nation treats its women is a barometer," Senator Cardin said, making the case that women are particularly vulnerable to human rights violations.
He quoted from the 2016 Global Slavery Index released yesterday, that said India's trafficking record was poor primarily because of the rise forced labour in the last three years, which now involves around 18 million people.
Senator Cardin said tackling corruption more effectively would also help India address these major concerns.
Senator Cardin is known to be vocal on these issues. He raised them recently at a foreign relations committee hearing, where senators interacted with US diplomat Nisha Biswal, who handles Indo-US relations at the state department.
His comments also come just weeks after the State Department supported US Commission on International Religious Freedom report charged India with increasing incidents of religious violence and a deterioration of religious freedoms in 2015.
India has rejected those findings, saying the commission lacked any understanding of Indian society or culture.