The United States will continue to hold discussions with India on communal rhetoric during election campaigns, the country’s top diplomat in India said on Friday, NDTV reported.

Elizabeth Jones, the United States’ Chargé d’Affaires for India, made the statement while speaking to journalists on Friday.

“We have been discussing this for a long time and will continue to do so,” she said in response to a question about communal statements during elections. “...That’s one of the benefits of this consequential relationship, that we can discuss a great variety of issues – easy issues, difficult issues, issues on which we agree, issues on which we don’t.”

On November 22, a commission in the United States said that religious freedom and the human rights related to it are threatened in India for several reasons, including the government policies failure to protect minorities.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent American government agency that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion and makes policy suggestions to the White House, had made the statement in a report.

The panel reiterated its recommendation from April that the United States government should designate India as a “country of particular concern” for engaging in or tolerating systematic violations of religious freedom.

Meanwhile, Jones on Friday supported India’s stand on China’s objections to an ongoing Indo-United States military exercise being held in Uttarakhand, PTI reported. To a question on China’s concerns about the exercise, she said: “I think I would point it to the kind of statement that we heard from our Indian colleagues to the effect that it is none of their business.”

On Thursday, the spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs Arindam Bagchi said that the exercise “has got nothing to do with the 1993 and 1996 agreements”.

The agreement from 1993 is to do with maintaining peace along the Line of Actual Control with China, while the one from 1996 pertains to confidence-building measures in the military field.