On June 16, in a daily press conference, US State Department spokesman Ned Price responded to a query about the insulting comments against Prophet Mohammed made by two BJP leaders in India. Price responded that the remarks made by members of India's ruling government were offensive, and the US condemned their actions.
Jahanzaib Ali, a reporter from ARY News TV, Pakistan, spoke of the rise of Islamophobia in India as he enquired about the US stance in response to the "hate crimes committed by the Indian Government against Muslims and other minorities?".
Answering the reporter's question, Price said, "We [US] condemn the offensive comments made by two BJP officials, and we were glad to see that the party publicly condemned those comments.". He added, "We regularly engage with the Indian Government at senior levels on human rights concerns, including freedom of religion or belief, and we encourage India to promote respect for human rights."
The United States condemned the remarks made by now suspended BJP officials against Prophet Mohammad. The Biden govt said it was ‘glad’ to see that the ruling party (BJP) publicly condemned the comments. pic.twitter.com/mATsBB9pOg
— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) June 17, 2022
During a visit to India last year, the US Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, said that the Indian and American citizens believe in the same values of dignity, respect, equality, and religious freedom, the fundamental values of any democratic nation.
The US has sought to strengthen its connections with India since the late 1990s as the two largest democracies of the world share similar values and interests. However, in recent times, India's position on the war in Ukraine has concerned many in the western capital. India is procuring Russian oil at a discounted rate, while almost all Western powers have levied economic sanctions on Russia.
The US values its ties with India as the country is a "key strategic" partner in the Indo-Pacific region. In response to India's decision to purchase discounted oil from Russia, John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in The White House, said, "What I can just tell you is we value this bilateral relationship with India, and we continue to want …every country has to make their decisions for themselves,"
US congresswoman Ilhan Omar has been voicing her opinions on India's alleged violation of religious freedom. Omar, along with congresswomen Rashida Talib and Juan Vargas, introduced a resolution "Condemning human rights violations and violations of international religious freedom in India." to urge the Secretary of State to implement the recommendations of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which has designated India as a “country of particular concern” for the last three years.
Ilhan Omar spews anti-India hate; Moves resolution in U.S Congress alleging religious freedom curbs
Watch for details pic.twitter.com/YKakVd2ken
— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) June 23, 2022
While the resolution has a low chance of being passed, it shows that members of the US assembly are anxious about the religious turmoil spreading all over India.
Controversial remarks made by the two spokespersons for India's ruling party about the Prophet Muhammad have sparked a diplomatic conflict between India and several Muslim countries, including the Gulf nations. These nations are protesting the religious polarization, discrimination, and violence against the Muslim minority in India, fueled by Hindu nationalist groups.
India's ambassadors in Qatar, Kuwait, and Iran received complaints from the three Muslim-majority countries. At the same time, the foreign ministries of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Libya released statements condemning the "insulting" comments on their religion.
The two suspended BJP leaders have since apologized but said they made their comments in response to criticism leveled at Hindu gods.