US Secretary of Defence, Lloyd J. Austin III, was on a three-day visit to India, from March 19, 2021, to March 21, 2021. His visit to India is a part of his first overseas travel to emphasise the strength of the India-US strategic partnership.
Against this event's backdrop, many social media users are sharing screenshots of two tweets, one of NDTV and the other of ANI. While the Tweet of NDTV says, US Defence Secretary discussed Human Rights issues with the Indian Minister, the tweet by ANI quotes a source to say that US Defence Secretary did not discuss the human rights issues. The screenshots of the tweets are being shared to show that the human rights issues were not discussed by the US Defence Secretary in his meetings with India's top political leaders.
Many Twitter users are sharing the images with the hashtag '#ShutDownNDTV'.
US Defence Secretary did not speak about the human rights issues in India amid his three days visit.
The Logical Indian Fact-check team searched with the keyword, "US Defence Secretary did not speak about the human rights" and found many media reports saying that US Defence Secretary spoke about human rights with External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar.
On being asked by an American journalist, if human rights were discussed, Austin replied, he did not get the opportunity to discuss human rights issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but he discussed this with other ministers. The Print quoted Austin's statement, which he made during a press briefing to American journalists and a group of Indian journalists. In his statement, he said, "Having said that, I did have a conversation with other members of the cabinet on this issue. We have to remember that India is our partner, a partner whose partnership we value." He also said, "And I think partners need to be able to have that kind of discussion, and certainly we feel comfortable doing it. We can have those discussions in a meaningful way…" The news was reported by The Print on March 20.
We also read the entire report by NDTV, which was also published on March 20. This article is similar to the article of The Print; the only difference between the two is that NDTV mentioned that "violations of human rights, especially against Muslim minorities in the northeast."
ANI also reported that issues of human rights were raised in discussion between S Jaishankar and Lloyd J Austin III.
Later, on March 21, ANI published an article countering the previous reports done by other media organisation, with the title, "No discussion of human rights in India with US Defence Secretary: Sources." When we read the whole article, we found that ANI in his report had cited High-level Indian sources, who said, 'human rights and values were mentioned as shared attributes and the only mention of minorities was by EAM Jaishankar in the context of Afghanistan.'
We also found that the United States Department of Defense had also released a transcript of the press briefing of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III that happened in Delhi on March 20. In the transcript, one can read that a journalist had asked, "Thank you. Thank you for doing this Mr Secretary. Diplomacy and human rights an important part of the Biden/Harris administration. Since you are the first member of the administration to meet with Prime Minister Modi, did you raise the question of violations of human rights especially against Muslim minorities in (inaudible)?" As a reply to this answer, Austin says, "Thanks. And to answer your question about whether or not I engaged the Prime Minister on that specific issue, I did not have an opportunity to talk with him about that. Having said that, I did have a conversation with other members of the Cabinet on this -- on this issue. And I think -- we have to remember that India is our partner and a partner that -- whose partnership we value. And I think partners need to be able to have those kinds of discussions. And certainly, we're -- we feel comfortable in doing that. And you can have those discussions in a very meaningful way and still -- and make progress."
Hence, we could evidently conclude that the US Defence Secretary had said that he discussed the human rights issues with Indian Ministers, unlike what is claimed by social media users.
Alt News has earlier verified the claim.
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