President Joe Biden is likely to raise United States concerns about human rights during his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi but he will not "lecture" the Indian leader on the issue, a top American official said on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Modi will hold high-level talks with President Biden on Thursday during which the two leaders would discuss a wide range of issues of mutual and global interests.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Wednesday indicated that President Biden would raise his concerns on human rights with Modi.
"We do so publicly. We do so privately. We do so in a way where we don't seek to lecture or assert that we don't have challenges ourselves....And that will be the nature of the conversations that take place here over the course of the next couple of days," he was quoted as saying by the US media.
On Wednesday, a senior State Department official said the US has had at every level, including the highest levels, frank and constructive discussions about the human rights issue.
"As a genuine partner and friend in India, we speak (honestly) and constructively about our differences. We have raised our human rights and religious freedom concerns regularly to senior government officials. We do this in an atmosphere of mutual respect. It's important that we support all pillars of Indian democracy - to that end, we regularly meet with civil society and journalists," the official said on condition of anonymity.
On Tuesday, a group of American lawmakers wrote to President Biden, asking him to raise directly with Prime Minister Modi "areas of concern" and discuss with him the full range of issues important to a successful, strong, and long-term relationship between the two countries.
"As longtime supporters of a strong US-India relationship, we also believe that friends can and should discuss their differences in an honest and forthright way," read the letter signed by 75 lawmakers, including Indian-American lawmaker Pramila Jayapal.
"That is why we respectfully request that - in addition to the many areas of shared interests between India and the US - you also raise directly with Prime Minister Modi areas of concern," the letter read.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) also urged President Biden to address issues of religious freedom and other related human rights in India during Prime Minister Modi's state visit.
"With India's upcoming state visit, the Biden administration has a unique opportunity to explicitly incorporate religious freedom concerns into the two countries' bilateral relationship," said USCIRF Commissioner David Curry.