Will let India speak for its ties with Bangladesh: US
Washington wants Delhi to speak for its bilateral ties with Dhaka, said US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby at a briefing ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's state visit to the US starting later today.
"On Bangladesh, again, I think we'd let the Indian government speak for its bilateral relations with Bangladesh," he said when a journalist asked if he thought that India, the world's largest democracy, would join the US effort to ensure voting rights and restoring democracy in Bangladesh.
Kirby said Washington has already made clear its desire for free and fair elections in Bangladesh, and adopted a visa policy to restrict travel to individuals who undermine Bangladeshi elections.
"So, I can only speak for ourselves. You know where we are. We've been pretty public about that, but we would let the Indian government talk about their bilateral relations."
Recently, there were media reports quoting diplomatic sources in Delhi that one of the issues Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to take up during his talks with US President Joe Biden is the South Asian neighbourhood, particularly Bangladesh.
India will likely raise the issue of the Maldives, where elections are due soon, in the backdrop of China aggressively promoting its influence in South Asia, something New Delhi views with concern given the security implications.
In doing this, India will be tapping into the US's own serious concern over China's heightened assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region, according to diplomatic sources in New Delhi.
John Kirby also said it was commonplace and consistent for President Biden to raise concerns over human rights wherever he goes around the world and the leaders he speaks to.
"Human rights are a foundational element of this administration's foreign policy, and you can certainly expect that the President will – as he always does and as you can do with friends and partners like Prime Minister Modi in India – raise our concerns about that," he said.
Kirby said PM Modi's visit will affirm the deep and close partnership between the United States and India and the warm bonds of family and friendship that link Americans and Indians together.
"The visit will strengthen our two countries' shared commitment to a free, open, prosperous, and secure Indo-Pacific and our shared resolve to elevate our strategic technology partnership, including in defence, clean energy, and space," he said.