India Dismisses Biden’s Assertion That ‘Xenophobia’ is Stunting its Economic Development

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India has rejected US president Joe Biden’s claim that “xenophobia” is causing the economies of certain South Asian nations to stagnate.

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Foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar stated at a roundtable hosted by The Economic Times newspaper that India’s economy “is not faltering”. India has historically been a very open society, he remarked.

“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,” Mr Jaishankar said, referencing a recent law allowing immigrants fleeing persecution from neighboring countries to become citizens.

Earlier this week, Mr Biden claimed that “xenophobia” in China, Japan, and India was hindering growth in their economies as he argued that migration has been beneficial for the US economy.

“One of the reasons why our economy’s growing is because of you and many others. Why? Because we welcome immigrants,” Mr Biden said at a fundraising event for his 2024 re-election campaign and to mark the start of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

“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. Immigrants are what makes us strong,” he said, kicking off the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted last month that growth in Asia’s three largest economies would decelerate in 2024 from the previous year.

The IMF also projected that the US economy would grow 2.7 percent, slightly faster than its 2.5 percent rate last year. Many economists attribute the optimistic forecasts in part to migrants expanding the country’s labor force.

“India has always 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,” Mr Jaishankar told the newspaper.

The latest comments from the US president against his key allies India and Japan in Asia come at a time when he is campaigning against Republican opponent Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant stance.

Simultaneously, Mr Biden is also striving to cultivate broad economic and political ties with both nations in the face of global adversaries China and Russia.

Immigration is swiftly emerging as a central issue in the November 2024 presidential campaign, which is widely anticipated to be a Biden-Trump rematch, and each man is endeavoring to utilize the border issues to his own political advantage. Mr Biden is advocating for legal immigration to bolster the American economy.

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