New Delhi rejects US president's remarks that India is 'xenophobic'

<p>US President Joe Biden<em> (Anadolu photo)</em></p>

US President Joe Biden (Anadolu photo)

NEW DELHI – India on Saturday dismissed recent remarks by US President Joe Biden, who called India and other Asian nations "xenophobic."

Speaking at a round table hosted by the Indian daily Economic Times, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar also underlined that India's economy "is not faltering."

"India has been a very unique country ... I would say actually, in the history of the world, that it's been a society which has been very open ... different people from different societies come to India," the daily quoted Jaishankar as saying.

He cited the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, which India passed in 2019, with its implementation beginning in March this year.

"That's why we have the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), which is to open up doors for people who are in trouble ... I think we should be open to people who have the need to come to India, who have a claim to come to India," said Jaishankar.

During a recent campaign fundraiser in the nation's capital, Biden had said: "You know, one of the reasons why our economy is growing is because ... we welcome immigrants."

"Why is China stalling so badly economically? Why is Japan having trouble? Why is Russia? Why is India? Because they're xenophobic. They don't want immigrants," he added.

"Immigrants is what makes us strong. Not a joke. That's not hyperbole. Because we have an influx of workers who want to be here and just contribute," he added.

On Thursday, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden was talking about the importance of being a country of immigrants, a label the US often uses for itself.

"He was talking about the importance of being a country of immigrants, especially as you see the attacks that we have seen very recently in the last couple of years on immigrants in particular," she said.

Pressed on whether the president would phrase his remarks the same way again, Jean-Pierre said, "that is up to the president."

Japan also expressed disappointment over Biden's “xenophobic” comments, local media said on Saturday.

The Japanese government told Washington that Biden's remarks were not based on an accurate understanding of Japan's policy, Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported. (Anadolu)