US ‘confident’ democratic India can manage internal situation

Washington: Responding to Indians taking umbrage at a US official’s remark on the current protests in India against corruption, Washington has reiterated confidence in India’s ability to manage its internal situation consistent with its democratic values.

“India is a very strong and vibrant democracy, and we have confidence in India’s ability to manage its internal situation in a manner that is consistent with the democratic values of the state,” State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in response to a question about India’s reaction to her comments.

Indian officials and opposition alike had taken objection to the patronising remark of a US official Friday that US counts on democratic India “to exercise appropriate democratic restraint in the way it deals with peaceful protest” by social activist Anna Hazare against corruption.

Asked if it was possible that she had made up the comment that New Delhi found objectionable on the spur of the moment in response to a question, Nuland said: “Sounds absolutely inconceivable for a State Department spokesperson to be making things up on the top of her head.”

In response to a separate question about Syria, she said the US was speaking to countries like India and China, with major investment in Syria’s energy sector, at the United Nations and in their respective capitals to join Washington in curbing the Assad regime’s crackdown on protests there.

“I think our message publicly has been clear,” Nuland said noting that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said in an interview on CBS that “she thought it was time for India and China to revisit their position. So those conversations continue.”

Asked if the US was satisfied with the response from India and China, she said: “Again, those conversations continue, and I’m not going to characterise our level of satisfaction.” (IANS)