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US Congress report warns of repercussions over farmer protests in India

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WASHINGTON: The US Congressional Research Service (CRS) has published a report in which it has warned that India’s position on the ongoing stir over the farmers’ protests could “present a challenge” for the Joe Biden administration as it shapes its Indo-Pacific policy with New Delhi as a key partner.

The CRS report could potentially fuel the disquiet already voiced by the US lawmakers, reported Hindustan Times on Wednesday.

“By some accounts, the crackdown on dissent has been excessive and reflective of a broader trend towards authoritarianism in India,” the CRS report said.

“Perceived backsliding in India’s democracy and human rights record may present a challenge for the Biden administration in formulating its policies towards India and the Indo-Pacific,” the report added.

Commenting on it, a Congressional aide said that “If CRS has a published report on a topic, it indicates that the topic has generated some notable level of interest on the Hill (Capitol Hill where the US Congress is located).”

In its first response to the farmers’ protests in India, Joe Biden’s State Department said on February 3 that it encouraged a resolution to the agitation through dialogue but it also showed support for underlying reforms that triggered the protests.

“In general, the United States welcomes steps that would improve the efficiency of India’s markets and attract greater private sector investment,” the State Department said.

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