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How Modi went from being banned to embraced by the United States
How Modi went from being banned to embraced by the United States

CNN Article : Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was once shunned by the United States. Denied a visa for “severe violations of religious freedom,” he was effectively banned from entering the country for nearly a decade.

But in the nine years since that ban was lifted, Modi has been progressively embraced by the White House – now more than ever.  The leader of the world’s most populous nation will meet with US President Joe Biden during a state visit to Washington this week, in a trip that is expected to further boost defense, trade and technology ties, and celebrate “the warm bonds of family and friendship” that link the two countries together. 

Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has come under scrutiny from rights groups and opposition lawmakers for its increasingly strident brand of Hindu nationalist politics and an ongoing crackdown on dissent. Pressure is growing for Biden, who views India as a critical regional partner, to address those concerns in some way during Modi’s visit.  But analysts say criticism is unlikely given India’s growing leverage in the Indo-Pacfic, as well as its 5 million strong diaspora in the US – among the country’s largest immigrant groups and its fastest growing voting bloc.  Daniel S. Markey, senior adviser, South Asia, for the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), said Washington sees India as “a strategic swing state in a world order increasingly defined by competition between the US and China,” adding that human rights concerns have “generally taken a back seat” to geopolitics. 

“But I believe they are still relevant, or should be,” Markey said. “If only because India’s deteriorating democracy will on balance make it a more challenging and less effective US partner.”  “The visit is a test because Biden should not look to be embracing Modi’s authoritarian policies,” he added.

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