India is a vibrant democracy and anybody who happens to go to New Delhi can see that for themselves, the White House said Monday, as it appeared to dismiss concerns about the health of democracy in India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a state visit to the US later this month.
"India is a vibrant democracy. Anybody that, you know, happens to go to New Delhi can see that for themselves. And certainly, I would expect that strength and health of democratic institutions will be part of the discussion," John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House, told reporters at a news conference in Washington, DC.
"Look, we never shy away. And you can do that with friends. You're supposed to do that with friends. You never shy away from expressing concerns that we might have with anyone around the world. But this (State) visit is really about advancing what is now and what we hope will be a deeper, stronger partnership and friendship going forward," Kirby said in response to a question.
Kirby said India is a strong partner with the United States on many levels.
"You saw that in Shangri-La Secretary (of Defense, Lloyd) Austin announced some additional defense cooperation now that we're going to pursue with India. Of course, there's an awful lot of economic trade between our two countries. India is a member of the Pacific Quad and a key friend and partner with respect to Indo-Pacific security," he said.
"I could go on and on and on. There are innumerable reasons why India certainly matters, not just bilaterally between the two of our nations, but multilaterally on very many levels. And the president is looking forward very much to having Prime Minister Modi here to talk about all those issues and to advance and deepen that partnership and that friendship," Kirby said.