‘Unwarranted, India proud of its democratic institutions’: India on US remarks on Kejriwal’ arrest

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New Delhi:Remarks made by the US regarding Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest are “unwarranted” and a strong protest has been lodged, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a routine press briefing on Thursday. “…yesterday India lodged its strong objection and protest with a senior official from the United States Embassy with regard to comments made by the State Department. The recent remarks are unwarranted. In India, legal processes are driven by the rule of law. Anyone who has similar ethos… especially fellow democracies… should have no difficulty in appreciating this fact,” the MEA said.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) swiftly responded to criticisms from the US regarding the Congress party’s assertion that its bank accounts were frozen due to alleged unjust tax demands, mere days prior to the 2024 Lok Sabha election. The Congress party lamented that the freeze on its accounts left it financially incapacitated to fund its election campaigns.

‘Mutual respect foundation of international relations’

The MEA underlined India’s “robust and independent democratic institutions” and said that “external imputation on our electoral and legal processes is completely unacceptable”. The ministry spokesperson also underscored the Indian government’s dedication to safeguarding the nation’s judiciary and democratic establishments “against any unwarranted external pressures”. “Mutual respect and understanding form the foundation of international relations and states are expected to be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others,” the MEA said.

Strain in India-US diplomatic ties

The ministry issued a stern statement following renewed calls from the US on Wednesday, emphasising the necessity for “fair, transparent, and prompt legal procedures” regarding Kejriwal’s arrest. When questioned about the Wednesday meeting between MEA officials and Gloria Berbena, the US’ Acting Deputy Chief of Mission in Delhi, the US stated it “continues to follow these actions closely.”

Regarding the Congress’ tax row, the State Department acknowledged it is “aware of the allegations…” and emphasised encouraging the Indian government to address both matters “fairly and transparently.” This exchange has resulted in a certain level of diplomatic strain between the allies.

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