Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

India as a country of Particular concern: USCIRF


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 2- India-US relations


  • U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent bi-partisan commission.
  • USCIRF recommendations are non-binding.
  • The Trump administration had rejected the USCIRF recommendation to designate India a CPC last year.
  • Last year India had denied visas to members of USCIRF who wanted to visit India for their assessment.

What are the key concerns of the report

  • The key concerns of the 2021 report include the Citizenship Amendment Act.
  • On the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the report says, “The consequences of exclusion – as exemplified by a large detention camp being built in Assam – are potentially devastating…”
  • Efforts to prohibit interfaith marriage – such as those in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh – are also highlighted as a concern.
  • In an apparent reference to the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz in March 2020, the USCIRF says that at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, disinformation and hateful rhetoric often targeted religious minorities.

Recommendations of the report to the US Congress

  • The USCISRF recommended that the administration impose targeted sanctions on Indian individuals and entities for ‘severe violations of religious freedom’.
  • A second recommendation was for the administration to promote inter-faith dialogue and the rights of all communities at bilateral and multilateral forums “such as the ministerial of the  Quad].
  • Another recommendation – to the U.S. Congress – was to raise issues in the U.S. – India bilateral space, such as by hosting hearings, writing letters and constituting Congressional delegations.

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