India hit out hard against a US religious freedom report saying religious intolerance in India was growing under its right-wing government, setting off a new spat before visiting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
An annual report on international religious freedom released by Pompeo on Friday said Hindu groups had used "violence, intimidation, and harassment" against Muslims and low-caste Dalits in 2017 to force a religion-based national identity.
But Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government insisted that now foreign country had the right to criticize its record.
Pompeo is set to arrive in New Delhi on Tuesday for a trip to ties, but already complicated by spats over trade tariffs, data protection rules, US displayed for Indians and buying arms from Russia
The US religious freedom reported groups claiming to protect cows ̵
"Despite Indian government statistics indicating that communal violence has increased sharply over the past two years, the Modi administration has not addressed the problem," the report said.
The report consists of chapters by country, grouped into tiers, in which India is categorized in tier 2. The highlights with a 12 percent decline in communal violence compared with the previous year. ] The controversial revision of the National Register of Citizenship in northeastern state of Assam, which could land millions of minorities stateless, also got noticed in the report.
The Indian foreign ministry rejected the report, saying there was no right "for a foreign entity / government to pronounce on the state of our citizens" constitutionally protected rights ".
" India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a long-standing commitment to tolerance and inclusion, "spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a statement.
" The Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all its citizens, including its minority communities. " 19659004] The United States has most sought after boosts with India as a counterweight to China, and both US President Donald Trump and their highlighted good relationship
However, India last week imposes higher import tariffs on 28 US items in retaliation to Washington's recent withdrawal of trade privileges for New Delhi
Pompeo wants to use his New Delhi trip to ground for a Trump-Modi meeting at the G20 Summit in Osaka this month. It will be their first since Modi's new landslide election last month.
Pompeo is also giving a speech on the future of the relationship between the two countries.
Al Jazeera and news agencies