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India shocked by racial attacks in US

Statesman News Service | Ashok Tuteja/SNS |

The string of racial attacks on Indians in America has sent shock waves across India with many wondering why New Delhi’s response so far has not been as forceful as it should have been.

A comparison is also being drawn between New Delhi’s reaction now and the unambiguous stand it had taken in the wake of assaults on Indian students in Australia in 2009 when the then External Affairs Minister S M Krishna made it clear to Canberra that the racial violence could hit bilateral ties.

The irony is that the attacks have come at a time when India is making all out efforts to reach out to the Donald Trump administration to bolster ties between the two nations in different fields.

Officials here said Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, who was in the US last week, would soon meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, to brief them on his discussions with representatives of the new administration, particularly on the recent attacks on Indians.

It is learnt that the two sides are actively working on arranging an early meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister Modi to sort our various bilateral issues, especially Washington’s proposal to impose restrictions on H-1B visas, a move which will have a huge bearing on Indian techies.

Indications so far have been that Modi might visit the US in May-June or the two leaders could meet in Hamburg in July on the margins of the G-20 Summit.

While President Trump had described India as a ‘true friend’ of America in his telephonic conversation with PM Modi soon after his inauguration, he has so far done precious little that would reflect his commitment to boost this relationship.

Many in Indian official circles are questioning why it took Trump so long to condemn the killing of an Indian techie in Kansas. By remaining silent for almost a week at a time when America is deeply divided on racial lines, he has apparently given an impression that he cares too little for the strong and influential Indian community, analysts here say.

The fear among Indians is that if these attacks continue unabated and the American authorities do not take steps on a war-footing to check them, America would lost its tag of being a ‘Land of Opportunity’ for Indians.

New Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna, an ace diplomat with deep understanding of India-US issues, has, meanwhile, met US officials to convey New Delhi’s "deep concerns’’ over the racial attacks and the need to prevent them. The US State Department has assured him that the authorities were working with all agencies concerned to ensure speedy justice.