External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday said that human rights violations in India were not discussed during the 2+2 ministerial meeting with the United States in Washington, PTI reported.

Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh attended the meeting with their US counterparts Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin.

At a joint press conference of the four leaders on Monday, US Secretary of State Blinken had said that Washington was monitoring “recent concerning developments in India”, including a rise in human rights abuses by some government, police, and prison officials.

On Wednesday, Jaishankar told reporters that discussions in the 2+2 ministerial meeting were focused on “political-military affairs”.

“Look, people are entitled to have views about us,” he said. “But we are also equally entitled to have views about their views and about the interests, and the lobbies and the vote banks which drive that. So, whenever there is a discussion, I can tell you that we will not be reticent about speaking out.”

The minister added that India too held opinions on human rights violations in other countries, including in the US.

“So, we take up human rights issues when they arise in this country, especially when they pertain to our community,” he said. “And in fact, we had a case yesterday [Wednesday] that’s really where we stand on that.”

In a report released by the US State Department on Tuesday on the status of human rights in various countries, Washington had noted that that Muslims in India are vulnerable to communal violence and discrimination.

The report mentioned discrimination against minorities in India, extrajudicial killings, degrading treatment or punishment by the police and prison officials and arbitrary arrests and detentions by government authorities among other concerns.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Jaishankar arrived in New York to meet United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

This will be Jaishankar’s first meeting with the UN official since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February.

India has abstained from voting on six United Nations resolutions on the Ukraine crisis. These include resolutions on “immediate cessation of Russian hostilities”, deploring Moscow’s aggression against Kyiv and investigating Russia’s alleged human rights violations in Ukraine.

Last month, US President Joe Biden had said that India’s response to the Russian attack on Ukraine has been “somewhat shaky”.