| 20 April 2024, Saturday |

U.S. envoy expresses sorrow over ethnic violence in India’s northeast

The ethnic violence that occurred in the northeastern state of Manipur on Thursday was lamented by the American ambassador in New Delhi, who also noted that while it was an Indian issue, Washington was prepared to offer support should it be needed.

The Meiteis, who rule the wealthier lowlands, and the Kuki tribes, who reside in the hills and are granted economic privileges and quotas for government employment and education, have engaged in fighting that has claimed the lives of close to 120 people.

About 40,000 people have been displaced by the violence during the past two months, and the federal government has deployed additional security forces.

“You don’t have to be an Indian to care when children or individuals die in this sort of violence,” Ambassador Eric Garcetti told journalists in the eastern city of Kolkata.

“There has been a lot of progress in the northeast states… We stand ready and enable to assist if asked but we know that this is an Indian matter,” Garcetti said.

“We can bring more collaboration, more projects, more investment if that peace is in place.”

The violence in Manipur was triggered after a court in February suggested that the special privileges granted to the Kuki people, who make up 16% of the state’s population, be extended to the Meiteis, who are a majority in the state.

When asked about Garcetti’s comments, India’s foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said “I am not sure foreign diplomats would usually comment on internal developments in India, but I would not like to comment without seeing what has exactly been said.”

Ties between India and the U.S. were strengthened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s landmark visit to Washington last month, when several agreements were signed, including for arms sales to India and for U.S. investment in India’s semiconductor industry.

  • Reuters