The arrest of Disha Ravi, a 21-year-old climate activist, has Time magazine questioning US President Joe Biden on his ignorance of the state of India’s democracy.
Time is now asking whether Biden and the United States can overlook India’s fast-declining democratic standards.
The daily assaults on civil liberties and the threats to India’s Muslim minority under Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party have noticeably increased since Modi’s re-election in 2019, says Time.
The global publication also says hate speech is rife, peaceful dissent is criminalized, freedom of expression and association faces new constraints.
Not to mention the jails are filling up with political prisoners and peaceful dissenters as a servile judiciary looks away.
India slipped two more places to 53rd in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index.
The country was 27th in 2014. What a fall from grace!
On the other hand, Sweden’s V-Dem Institute now lists India among the top 10 countries most quickly becoming autocracies.
The Swedish Institute also says India is on the verge of losing its status as a democracy.
Modi’s government reacted virulently against Rihanna, Greta Thunberg, Susan Sarandon and Vice President Kamala Harris’ niece Meena Harris after giving their support to farmers.
The farmers are demonstrating since last year against new laws they say are detrimental to them. But the Modi regime is not going to budge on the issue.
However, President Biden has other things in mind. Just like the Americans ignored the abuses against a segment of the Myanmar population America is not concerned with abuses in India.
Biden is counting on the Quad, a strategic forum of four Indo-Pacific democracies—the U.S., Japan, Australia and India—to contain China.
But the problem is India’s democracy is failing. If America insists on having India in the Quad, it will be equivalent to admitting China’s lack of democracy is acceptable.
“Pressing China on human rights while ignoring gross violations by allies is not a good look for the new Leader of the Free World,” is what the writer in the Time says.
It is clear Modi and Aung San Suu Kyi conned former President Barack Obama.
While Modi lured Obama in a public “bromance,” Myanmar’s new leader Suu Kyi conned him believe she was a democrat.
But Biden is hopeless too.
In their phone conversation, Modi and Biden spoke on agreeing, “the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld in Burma!”
And Time concludes:
“But if Modi’s India doesn’t find a way to reverse its democratic decline, the couple will find themselves in much the same limbo of the Kissinger years—neither separate, because of the China compulsion—nor able to get along.”