Trump plans to raise issue of religious freedom with Indian PM Modi: official

Trump has faced criticism at home for imposing a travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries, a move he has argued is necessary to guard against terrorism. Picture: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump will raise the issue of religious freedom in India during his meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi next week, a senior administration official said, a sensitive subject for the Indian government.

Modi’s government has faced large scale-protests at home and criticism abroad for enacting a citizenship law that is seen as discriminating against Muslims and has deepened concerns his administration in undermining India’s secular traditions.

That measure came months after the Indian government withdrew the special autonomy given to the Muslim-majority territory of Kashmir, tightening its hold. It also jailed dozens of political opponents and separatists and imposed a communications blackout.

Trump, who is due in India on Monday, will talk about the two countries’ shared traditions of democracy and religious freedom, the senior administration official said in a conference call on Friday ahead of the two-trip.

“He will raise these issues, particularly the religious freedom issue, which is extremely important to this administration,” the official said.

Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party denies any bias against the country’s 180 million Muslims.

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