'Not familiar with documentary, but familiar with...': US response to query on BBC series
"I'm not familiar with the (BBC) documentary (on the 2002 Gujarat riots). I am aware of the common values that unite the United States and India as two thriving, vibrant democracies," said Ned Price, White House spokesperson.
The United States is not familiar with the BBC documentary, but it is familiar with the shared democratic values that unite Washington and New Delhi, said a US State Department spokesperson.
The controversial two-part BBC series "India: The Modi Question" claimed to have investigated certain aspects of the 2002 Gujarat riots when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the state's chief minister.
"Washington has an exceptionally deep partnership with New Delhi based on values shared by both the US and Indian democracies," said US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.
"I'm not familiar with the (BBC) documentary (on the 2002 Gujarat riots) you're referring to. I am aware of the common values that unite the United States and India as two thriving, vibrant democracies," said Price when a Pakistani journalist probed Price on the BBC documentary.
Price said several factors strengthen Washington's global strategic partnership with New Delhi, including political, economic and people-to-people ties.
I will say broadly that several components support our global strategic partnership with our Indian partners. There are strong political connections. There are financial ties. Additionally, he said that the United States and India have solid people-to-people relations.
The first part of the two-part series, which aired on BBC Two last week, was described by the UK taxpayer-funded broadcaster as a look at tensions between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India's Muslim minority, investigating claims about his role in the 2002 riots that killed over a thousand people.
The second part of the series, set to air on Tuesday, will investigate the troubled relationship between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government and India's Muslim minority following his re-election in 2019.
Following the release of the BBC documentary, the Indian government has condemned the BBC Panorama programme, banned in India, as propaganda with a dubious agenda.
The MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "We believe this is a propaganda piece intended to promote a discredited narrative. The bias, lack of objectivity, and continuing colonial mindset are all visible."
On January 21, New Delhi issued orders to block several YouTube videos and Twitter posts that contained links to the BBC documentary.
Last week, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended Prime Minister Modi in the matter of BBC documentary, claiming that he disagreed with the characterisation of PM Modi, his Indian counterpart.
(With inputs from PTI)