LONDON - The Australian government has refused to be drawn on human rights in India, prompting accusations that it has shelved uncomfortable issues to boost trade and security ties, reports the Guardian.
Human Rights Watch said the “quiet diplomacy” approach favoured by the west had failed to have any visible impact on India and urged the Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, to raise human rights during his visit to the country next week. BBC offices in India were raided by tax department officials in February, just weeks after the release of a documentary critical of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, which examined rising tensions between his Hindu nationalist government and the minority Muslim population.
The Indian government invoked emergency laws to block the documentary, which included details from a British Foreign Office report that alleged Modi was “directly responsible” for a “climate of impunity” that enabled deadly riots in the western state of Gujarat in 2002.
In the lead-up to his planned trip to India next week, Albanese was asked about the Gujarat riot allegations and whether he would raise contemporary human rights concerns with Modi.
The prime minister did not engage with the substance of the question. He said he was determined to build a better relationship between Australia and India and he looked forward to having “positive discussions” with his counterpart.