Trump hits unfollow on India's Modi

Indian prime minister was the only world leader followed by Washington's official Twitter handle


Kazim Hamdani April 29, 2020
A file photo of President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi embracing each other after speaking to the media outside the Oval Office in 2017.PHOTO: CNN

KARACHI: The White House has unfollowed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter sending the micro-blogging site into a frenzy over a possible souring of ties between the world leaders.

It has also unfollowed the Twitter handle of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, the Prime Minister's office, as well as, the Indian embassy in the US.

The Twitter account of the White House -- the residence and workplace of the US president -- has over 21 million followers.

Three weeks ago, Modi had the 'honour' of being the only world leader followed by Washington's official handle.

Religious freedom watchdog wants India on US blacklist

The move to follow the Indian premier's account on April 10 was seen as a reflection of the good rapport shared by Modi and President Trump.

SCREENGRAB: TWITTER/@WhiteHouse

Their last interaction was over the export of hydroxychloroquine, which the US wanted for its fight against coronavirus.

After India allowed the export of the drug, President Trump called Modi "great" and "really good".

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"Extraordinary times require even closer cooperation between friends. Thank you India and the Indian people for the decision on HCQ. Will not be forgotten! Thank you Prime Minister @NarendraModi for your strong leadership in helping not just India, but humanity, in this fight!", the US President had tweeted.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1247950299408498693

The White House handle followed PM Modi and other Indian accounts only two days later.

Congress's Gaurav Pandhi, a member of the party's social media cell said that: "Why has the White House unfollowed Prime Minister and President of India on Twitter".



It also "dismayed" fellow party leader Rahul Gandhi, who urged India's External Affairs Ministry to take note of the incident.

"I'm dismayed by the 'unfollowing' of our President & PM by the White House. I urge the Ministry of External Affairs to take note," tweeted Gandhi



Princess Hend Al Qassimi, a member of the royal family of the United Arab Emirates, also shared the development, calling for an end to the hatred against Muslims in India.

She has repeatedly raised her voice against New Delhi's atrocities against the Muslim minority in the country.

https://twitter.com/LadyVelvet_HFQ/status/1255566574884356098

While Indian professor Ashok Swain questioned the Indian media's deafening silence now, in contrast to the resounding clatter upon the White House following Modi.

https://twitter.com/ashoswai/status/1255388962488713216

From bad to worse

Washington's 'snub' comes a day after the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in its annual report called for the State Department to designate India as a “country of particular concern” or CPC, for “engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations, as defined by the International Religious Freedom Act”.



Giving India its harshest rating since 2004, the independent and bipartisan US federal government commission also pushed for imposing targeted sanctions on Indian government agencies and officials responsible for severe violations of religious freedom by freezing those individuals’ assets and/ or barring their entry into the US under human rights-related financial and visa authorities, citing specific religious freedom violations.



It also suggested strengthening the US Embassy and consulates’ engagement with religious communities, local officials, and police in India, especially in regions impacted by religiously motivated violence.

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