HomeCurrent affairsBiden faces backlash over sidelining India and Vietnam interests

Biden faces backlash over sidelining India and Vietnam interests

Records of President Biden’s visit show that he discussed Vietnamese human rights issues marginally

President Joe Biden visited Vietnam this week. The factual record of the visit totals 2,600 words. However, only 112 words were spent discussing human rights issues in Vietnam.

(Image Source: AP)

From the United States business and strategic perspective, visiting Vietnam and India will bolster their strength to counter China. However, human rights advocates were disappointed with the visits, as Biden had promised to prioritize human rights in 2021. 

Biden stated that Washington and Hanoi are entering a comprehensive strategic partnership. It will deepen relations between the two countries. The partnership will increase cooperation in the IT, technology, and artificial intelligence sectors. The White House revealed that Vietnam Airlines had purchased 50 Boeing 737 Max jets worth $7.8 billion. 

Advocates claim that the lack of focus on human rights issues is not unexpected. However, not prioritizing these issues will only worsen them. Their effects will be felt not only in Vietnam and India but worldwide. 

Carolyn Nash from the Amnesty International Institute states that the United States administration neglected human rights when forming partnerships with governments. It sends a message that the U.S. will overlook rights issues to further their business negotiations. 

Indian human rights issues

Rights groups like Human Rights Watch (HRW) state that PM Narendra Modi and the ruling party, i.e., the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), discriminate against minorities. It includes the Muslim community and violent attacks against other groups. 

The group states that the Indian justice system reflects Hindu majoritarian policies. Authorities silence reporters and journalists working on these issues by charging them with political motivation. 

Vietnamese human rights issues

According to HRW, Vietnam has imprisoned over 159 political prisoners. They were individuals who were peacefully practicing their civil and political rights.

Twenty-two other prisoners are pending trial at the court controlled by the ruling Communist Party. Fifteen individuals are in long-term prisons for violating their right to a fair trial. 

Biden responds

In response to the criticism, Biden states he discussed the rights issues with the respected officials. 

While Biden did not speak publicly regarding human rights, he told PM Modi to respect human rights and free speech. 

The White House states that U.S. and Vietnamese officials engaged in meaningful dialogue at the U.S.-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue.

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