The United States administration has condemned the offensive comments made by two leaders of the Indian ruling Bharatiya Janata Party about Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) earlier this month which drew widespread criticism from the Muslim world.
“Well, this is something that we’ve condemned. We condemn the offensive comments made by two BJP officials, and we were glad to see that the party publicly condemned those comments,” US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in response to a query during a press briefing on Thursday.
A reporter had asked the question about the rise in Islamophobia in India, coinciding with the recent statement of BJP leaders on Twitter and TV interview. It also led to protests in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Qatar had demanded of the Indian government to apologise over it by summoning its ambassador to the office.
“We regularly engage with the Indian Government at senior levels on human rights concerns, including freedom of religion or belief, and we encourage India to promote respect for human rights,” Price said.
He mentioned the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s last visit to New Delhi. “The Indian people and the American people, believe in the same values: human dignity, human respect, equality of opportunity, and the freedom of religion or belief. These are fundamental tenets, these are fundamental values within any democracy, and we speak up for them around the world,” he quoted Blinken as saying.
The reporter had also asked about the progress in the US-Pakistan relations under the new government against the backdrop of former premier Imran Khan, who was still selling the conspiracy theories.
The US administration had a couple of occasions to meet with representatives of the new Pakistani government, he said, adding that Secretary Blinken had an opportunity to sit down with his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to meet him face-to-face in his position for the first time in New York last month for the food security ministerial.
Blinken had hailed the meeting as an “important opportunity” for them to talk about many issues.
“It was a very good, constructive discussion regarding the full range of issues, including the issue of food security. We were there in New York at the time to deal with it and to deal with the many aftereffects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That was also a topic of discussion.”
But, he said: “Pakistan is a partner of ours, and we will look to ways to advance that partnership in a manner that serves our interest and our mutual interests as well.”