Donald Trump to discuss CAA, NRC, raise ‘religious freedom’ issue with PM Modi during India visit: US official

President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, will talk to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding issues concerning the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and raise the issue of freedom of religious minorities, during his upcoming India visit.

A senior official of the US administration at the White House in Washington DC was answering questions on this day regarding Trump’s much-awaited India visit. When asked whether Trump was planning to speak to PM Modi on the citizenship issue, particularly the CAA and the NRC, the official said that he was “sure it will come up”.

“President Trump will talk about our shared tradition of democracy and religious freedom, both, in his public remarks and certainly in private. He will raise these issues, particularly the religious freedom issue that’s very important for this (Trump) administration. We have our shared commitment of upholding our universal values, the rule of law,” the senior official of the US administration said.

“We have great respect for India’s democratic traditions and institutions, and we will continue to encourage India to uphold those traditions. And we are concerned with some of the issues that you have raised,” the White House official added.

Further, he said that India has a strong democratic foundation and the aspect of religious freedom is ensured in the Indian Constitution, which is “something that is important to the US President”. Thereby, Trump will talk to PM Modi and note the fact that the world is looking to India to continue to uphold its democratic traditions, especially since, he noted, PM Modi had earlier talked about prioritise being inclusive of India’s religious minorities.

“Of course, it’s in the Indian Constitution — religious freedom, respect for religious minorities, and equal treatment of all religions. So this is something that is important to the President and I’m sure it will come up. I think the President will talk about these issues in his meetings with Prime Minister Modi and note that the world is looking to India to continue to uphold its democratic traditions, respect for religious minorities,” said the senior official of the US administration.

US President Donald Trump is visiting Ahmedabad and New Delhi on February 24-25 along with his wife and First Lady Melania Trump.

The Citizenship Amendment Act promises citizenship to members of 6 non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who entered India before December 31, 2014. Massive protests have erupted across the country against the new law. The National Register of Citizens is a register of all Indian citizens whose creation is mandated by the 2003 amendment of the Citizenship Act, 1955. Its purpose is to document all the legal citizens of India so that the illegal migrants can be identified and deported.

Massive protests have erupted across the country against the new citizenship law. Critics say that the new law is against the secular nature of the Indian Constitution and clubbed with the NRC may be misused to strip away some Muslims’ citizenship in the country. The BJP, however, has argued that the law has nothing to do with India’s Muslims and only helps those who fled religious persecution in the neighbouring countries.DNA