India refutes Biden’s ‘xenophobia’ comment, says economy ‘not faltering’

Indian foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar rejected US President Joe Biden’s comment that “xenophobia” was hobbling the South Asian nation’s economic growth, The Economic Times reported on Saturday.

Jaishankar said at a round table hosted by the newspaper on Friday that India’s economy “is not faltering” and that it has historically been a society that is very open.

“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,” Jaishankar said, referring to a recent law that allows immigrants who have fled persecution from neighbouring countries to become citizens.

Earlier this week, Biden had said “xenophobia” in China, Japan and India was holding back growth in the respective economies as he argued migration has been good 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,” Biden said at a fundraising event for his 2024 re-election campaign and marking the start of Asian-American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

US President Joe Biden. Photo: AFP

Japan called Biden’s characterisation “unfortunate” and misguided.

According to a government statement on Saturday, Tokyo said it was “unfortunate that comments not based on an accurate understanding of Japan’s policy were made.”

The Japanese government had already delivered this message to the White House and explained once again about its policies and stances, the statement said.

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

The IMF also forecast that the US economy would grow 2.7 per cent, slightly brisker than its 2.5 per cent rate last year. Many economists attribute the upbeat forecasts partly to migrants expanding the country’s labour force.

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