US Congress report warns of repercussions over farmer protests in India

The report published by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) could potentially fuel the disquiet already voiced by U...

A new report by the US Congress’s non-partisan and autonomous research service has taken a critical view of India’s handling of the farmer protests, warning that New Delhi’s position on the ongoing stir could “present a challenge” for the Biden administration as it shapes its Indo-Pacific policy with India as a key partner.

The report published by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) could potentially fuel the disquiet already voiced by US lawmakers.

A congressional aide referring to the US Congress by its location, Capitol Hill, said that at the least, “if CRS has a published report on a topic, it indicates that the topic has generated some notable level of interest on the Hill”.

“By some accounts, the crackdown on dissent has been excessive and reflective of a broader trend towards authoritarianism in India,” says the CRS report, drawing mostly upon news reports, commentaries and analyses in Indian and foreign media publications.

“Perceived backsliding in India’s democracy and human rights record may present a challenge for the Biden administration in formulating its policies towards India and the Indo-Pacific,” the report adds...

...In early February, Brad Sherman, the Democratic lawmaker who co-chairs the House India Caucus, tweeted: “I urge the Indian government to make sure the norms of democracy are maintained and that protesters are allowed to protest peaceably, and to have access to the Internet and to journalists. All friends of India hope that the parties can reach an agreement.”

Sherman, Steve Chabot, the Republican co-chair of the Caucus, and Ro Khanna, the Indian-American who is co-chair, also raised the issue in a meeting with the Indian ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu.

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