India is a vibrant democracy and anybody who happens to go to New Delhi can see that for themselves, the White House said on Monday when asked about concerns over the health of democracy in India. PM Narendra Modi will be on a state visit to the US in about a fortnight from now where he is slated to address a joint session of US Congress. “India is a vibrant democracy…. Certainly, I would expect strength and health of democratic institutions will be part of the discussion,” John Kirby, coordinator for Strategic Communications, National Security Council, said at a news conference in Washington.
In response to a question, he said, “Look, we never shy away. And you can do that with friends. You are supposed to do that with friends. You never shy away from expressing concerns that we might have with anyone around the world. But this (state) visit is really about advancing what is now and what we hope will be a deeper, stronger partnership and friendship going forward.”
Asked about the levels at which India and the US partnered each other, he said Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin had announced some additional defence cooperation. “There is an awful lot of economic trade between our two nations. India is a member of the Pacific Quad and a key friend and partner in Indo-Pacific security,” he said.