Prime Minster Narendra Modi and United States President Joe Biden addressed a press conference following bilateral talks and addressed issues of human rights, press freedom, discrimination and democracy.
When questioned regarding claims of targeting minorities and human rights violations in India, PM Modi said, "We have proved democracy can deliver. If there are no human values, no human rights, no humanity, it's not a democracy.
"When we live in a democracy, there's no place for discrimination. In India, there is no discrimination on the basis of caste, age, religion," Modi told reporters in the White House. However, while Modi addressed claims of discrimination, he brushed over a question about silencing of critics in India.
President Biden was also asked about criticism against PM Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party government overlooking human rights violations in India, some of which originated from within the democratic party, including the targeting of religious minorities and clamp down on dissent.
“The prime minister and I had a good discussion about democratic values. That’s the nature of our relationship, we’re straight forward with each other and we respect each other.”
Biden also mentioned press freedom in his opening statement and said that both India and US “cherish freedom and celebrate the democratic values of universal human rights which face challenges around the world and in each of our countries.”
“Press freedom, religious freedom, tolerance, diversity…India now is the most populous country in the world… The backbone of our people…and talents and traditions make us strong as nations."US President Joe Biden
“The friendship between our nations is only going to grow as we face a future together,” he added.
As statements began, Biden said, "The partnership is among the most consequential in the world that is stronger, closer and more dynamic in any time in history."
Biden also shrugged off Chinese complaints about his use of the word “dictator” to describe President Xi Jinping and said that he was simply speaking the "facts."
"I don’t think it’s had any real consequence," he added
"We had an incident that caused some confusion but Secretary Blinken had a great trip to China. I expect to be meeting Chinese President Xi sometime in the future," he said.
During the press conference, both US President Joe Biden and PM Narendra Modi laid significant importance on economic ties. Laying out their discussions, PM Modi said that trade between the two countries has almost doubled over the decade, "supporting tens of thousands of good jobs in both India and the United States."
"One million American jobs across 44 states will be supported by the purchase of more than 200 American-made Boeing aircraft that Air Indian is announcing earlier this year and with this visit, Indian firms are announcing more than $2 billion in new investments in manufacturing solar in Colorado, steel in Ohio, and optic fiber in South Carolina."Prime Minister Narendra Modi
The pair also announced the setting up of US consulates in Ahmedabad and Bengaluru and an Indian consulate in Seattle.