Russian Foreign Ministry Accuses US of Destabilizing India During 2024 Elections

Russian Foreign Ministry Accuses US of Destabilizing India During 2024 Elections

The Russian foreign ministry has accused the US of trying to destabilize India during the 2024 general election, following a report by a US federal commission that criticized New Delhi for alleged violations of religious freedom.

Russian government-owned news network RT reported that foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Washington lacks understanding of India’s national mentality and history, continuing to make “unfounded accusations” about religious freedoms in India.

Zakharova called it disrespectful to India as a country and a State. “The reason [behind the US accusations] is to unbalance the internal political situation in India and complicate the general elections,” RT news quoted her as saying. The foreign ministry spokesperson added that Washington’s actions clearly constitute interference in India’s internal affairs.

This follows the latest annual report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) criticizing India for alleged violations of religious freedom. The commission also renewed its recommendation to the US Department of State to declare India a “Country of Particular Concern.”

The report accused the ruling BJP of reinforcing “discriminatory” nationalist policies and flagged the continued enforcement of several laws. It said these laws have resulted in arbitrary detention, monitoring, and targeting of religious minorities and those advocating on their behalf.

The Ministry of External Affairs slammed the US commission for attempting to “interfere” in India’s electoral exercise and continuing to indulge in “propaganda” against the country.

Randhir Jaiswal, spokesperson of the ministry, said last week that the USCIRF is known to be a “biased” entity with a political agenda. “The US Commission on International Religious Freedom is known as a biased organization with a political agenda. They continue to publish their propaganda on India masquerading as part of an annual report.”

“We really have no expectation that the USCIRF will even seek to understand India’s diverse, pluralistic, and democratic ethos,” Mr. Jaiswal said. “Their efforts to interfere in the largest electoral exercise of the world will never succeed,” he added.

Moscow also dismissed allegations of the involvement of an Indian official in a foiled plot to assassinate Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. “According to the information we have, Washington has not yet provided any reliable evidence of the involvement of Indian citizens in the preparation of the murder of a certain GS Pannun. Speculation on this topic in the absence of evidence is unacceptable,” Zakharova said at the briefing.

The remarks came in connection with a report in The Washington Post that cited unnamed sources and named a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) officer in connection with the alleged plot to kill Pannun. The report stated that India is trying to do the same as Russia and Saudi Arabia against its enemy.

“The Washington Post, it seems to me, should use the term ‘repressive regime’ and everything you quoted in relation to Washington. It is difficult to imagine a more repressive regime than Washington, both in domestic and international affairs,” Zakharova said.

The External Affairs Ministry rejected The Washington Post report, describing it as “unwarranted and unsubstantiated” imputation on a “serious matter” that is under investigation. Randhir Jaiswal, spokesperson for the ministry, termed the report “speculative and irresponsible.”

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Pooja Chauhan

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