AOC Joins ‘Squad' Members Boycotting 'Shameful' Address by Indian Prime Minister

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) / Getty Images
June 22, 2023

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) on Wednesday became the latest Democratic "Squad" member to announce she would boycott the address to Congress by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, whom she described as having a "deeply troubling human rights record."

"A joint address is among the most prestigious invitations and honors the United States Congress can extend," Ocasio-Cortez said. "We should not do so for individuals with deeply troubling human rights records."

Ocasio-Cortez follows Squad members Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.), who announced their boycotts earlier this week and similarly cited human rights and the treatment of Muslims in the majority-Hindu country.

"It's shameful that Modi has been given a platform at our nation's capital—his long history of human rights abuses, anti-democratic actions, targeting Muslims & religious minorities, and censoring journalists is unacceptable," Tlaib tweeted.

Omar announced she will host a "briefing with human rights groups" to talk about Modi's alleged record.

"Prime Minister Modi’s government has repressed religious minorities, emboldened violent Hindu nationalist groups, and targeted journalists/human rights advocates with impunity," Omar said Tuesday.

The protests come despite the Biden White House and the rest of the congressional Democrats welcoming Modi with an official state dinner and an invitation to address the joint session of Congress, two of the highest honors the United States extends to foreign leaders. The White House said the visit will show the "deep and close partnership" between the countries, as the United States seeks to shore up allies against an increasingly hostile China.

"This visit celebrates the U.S.- India partnership as one of the most important bilateral relationships that we have in the 21st century," State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel said Wednesday.

There are five Indian-American members of Congress, none of whom have announced a boycott of Modi's remarks.