US senator cautions India on intolerance, human rights ahead of PM Modi's visit

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New Delhi, June 2: US Senator Ben Cardin on Thuresday said while the US is looking forward to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Washington on June 4, India needs to address issues like extra-judicial killings, human trafficking and religious intolerance.

The tough report card by Cardin---a ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee---is bound to create some inconvenience in the Indian establishment ahead of Modi's visit.

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Speaking at the University of Chicago Centre in Delhi, Cardin said the way a nation treats its women is a barometer. He also quoted from the 2016 Global Slavery Index which was released on Wednesday (June 1), saying India has an alarming trafficking record because of the rise of forced labour in the last three years and it now involves 18 million people.

The senator also said that tackling corruption in a more effective way will also help India address these issues.

Cardin, who is known to be vocal on these issues, had raised them at a recent hearing of the foreign relations panel, where the senators spoke to US diplomat Nisha Desai Biswal, who looks after the Indo-US relations at the US state department.

Cardin's remarks came just weeks after the state department backed the report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom which charged India with rising instances of religious violence and a curb on religious freedoms in 2015.

India rejected the findings, saying the commission lacked understanding of the Indian society or culture.

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