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US President Biden Labels India and Japan as Xenophobic, Citing Economic Impacts

At a campaign reception in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden made controversial remarks, labeling India, along with China, Russia, and Japan, as “xenophobic.” Biden suggested that these countries’ reluctance to embrace immigrants is a key reason behind their economic struggles.

President Biden’s Comments

Speaking on the first day of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Biden praised the United States for its economic growth, attributing it in part to its welcoming stance toward immigrants. He contrasted this with China, Japan, Russia, and India, suggesting that their economic stagnation is a result of their xenophobic attitudes and reluctance to accept immigrants.

Reactions from Japan and India

Both India and Japan, important allies of the United States, have been at the forefront of discussions on economic growth and security cooperation. Japan, a key member of the Quad alliance, has recently seen its Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visit the White House for an official state dinner.

India, similarly, has strengthened its ties with the US, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official state visit last year. However, Biden’s comments have raised eyebrows in both countries, with officials from India’s Ministry of External Affairs dismissing the remarks as unfounded.

White House Clarification

Following the backlash, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby clarified Biden’s comments, stating that the President was referring to the US’ stance on immigration. Kirby emphasized that the US values its alliances and partnerships, including those with India and Japan, and that Biden’s comments should be viewed in that context.

Continued Scrutiny on India

Biden’s remarks are the latest in a series of criticisms directed at India by the US administration. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recently recommended imposing “targeted sanctions” on Indian citizens and entities for alleged violations of religious freedom. The USCIRF also suggested that India be recognized as a “country of particular concern” (CPC), a designation shared by countries like China, Iran, and North Korea.

In response, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs criticized the USCIRF, calling it a “biased organization with a political agenda.” Similarly, the US Department of State’s annual human rights report highlighted “significant human rights abuses” in India, further straining the bilateral relationship.

Biden‘s comments have sparked controversy and raised concerns about the state of US-India relations. While the White House has sought to clarify his remarks, the incident underscores the complexities of international relations and the challenges of balancing diplomatic rhetoric with domestic political considerations.

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