United States Senator Ben Cardin has said leaders will discuss alleged human rights violations in India when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Washington next week. The Maryland senator, who is also the ranking Democrat on the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, said it was the most important agenda in upcoming talks with Modi during the latter's trip.

Cardin minced no words during his speech at the University of Chicago Centre in Delhi on Wednesday where he criticised the human rights violations, extra-judicial killings and religious intolerance reported in India. He called these instances the country's “national challenges” and referred to a United Nations report that mentioned human trafficking was "troublesome" in India. "How a nation treats its women is a barometer," NDTV reported him as saying.

Modi will be in the US for two days from June 7 during which he will address a joint meeting of the US Congress and hold talks with President Barack Obama to review the progress made in key areas of defence, security and energy. He will become the fifth Indian prime minister to address the Congress after Rajiv Gandhi, PV Narasimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh.