United States Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said the US Congress was and continues to be concerned about the treatment of Muslims in India.

Pelosi made the comment during a conversation with John Chambers, chairperson of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum at an event in Washington DC.

“We were proud to welcome him [Prime Minister Narendra Modi] to a joint session of Congress [in 2016],” she said. “We had some concerns about the treatment of Muslims in India – I have to mention it – then and now,” Pelosi said.

The speaker’s conversation focussed on her agenda for the US and the relationship between US and India. On US-India ties, Pelosi said: “There is an opportunity to lift the values of the whole world, create more markets and be more entrepreneurial through the India-US strategic partnership.”

Pelosi praised Modi’s oratorical skills and said that a speech he gave during her visit to India along with former President Barack Obama was “one of the most fantastic speeches” she had ever heard. “It was very inspirational and he spoke about the values, about all the things we talk about, like valuing our planet and people,” she said. “But it was quite spectacular and different...he had the audience in the palm of his hands.”

Pelosi said she believed in the Gandhian philosophy and thinking. “Gandhi was the spiritual leader of America’s non-violence movement,” she said, while referring to civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr’s visit to India in the 1950s.

Pelosi added that America’s relationship with China was complicated. “If you look at China, you can talk about growing middle class and growing economy,” she said. “It is also a very repressive place. Three million Uighurs in ‘education camps’, what they are doing in Hong Kong to diminish democracy...”

She, however, praised China for taking “giant steps” to reduce carbon emissions.