Tulsi Gabbard , the first Hindu elected to the US Congress, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York in an unscheduled meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. The Friday meeting comes a week after the Democratic Party member apologised for not being able to join the “Howdy Modi” event in Houston on September 22, but extended a warm welcome to the prime minister. At the same event, Modi had backed US president Donald Trump for a second term.
The 37-year-old four-term lawmaker, Gabbard, had recently hit back at critics who accused the Democratic presidential hopeful of being a “Hindu nationalist”, saying questioning her commitment to America while not probing non-Hindu leaders creates a “double standard” that can only be rooted in “religious bigotry”.
Gabbard, the first Hindu elected to the US Congress, noted that she has been accused of being a Hindu nationalist. “Tomorrow will it be Muslim or Jewish Americans? Japanese, Hispanic or African Americans?” she asked.”To question my commitment to my country, while not questioning non-Hindu leaders, creates a double standard that can only be rooted in one thing: ‘religious bigotry’. I am Hindu and they are not,” Gabbard said.
“My meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s democratically elected leader, have been highlighted as ‘proof’ of this and portrayed as somehow being out of the ordinary or somehow suspect, even though President (Barack) Obama, Secretary (Hillary) Clinton, President (Donald) Trump and many of my colleagues in Congress have met with and worked with him,” Gabbard said.
“I am proud to be the first Hindu-American to have been elected to Congress, and now, the first Hindu-American to run for president,” she had said. Gabbard had added that India was one of America’s closest allies in Asia and is a country of growing importance in a critical region of the world. The 37-year-old on January 11 announced that she would be running for the White House in 2020.