US Under-Secretary arrives at Dharamshala; purpose of visit undisclosed

HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times

DHARAMSHALA, India, 15 January 2016

United States (US) Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall arrived at Dharamshala on Friday.

As a US special coordinator for Tibetan issues, Sewall is scheduled to meet Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama and exile leadership to discuss issues of importance to the Tibetan refugee community.

However, the exile government official here refused to disclose the purpose of her visit. Accompanied by Sikyong (Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile) Lobsang Sangay, the Under Secretary arrived at Dharamshala airport in the afternoon but refused to talk to the media.

Sewall is on a visit to India to lead the participation in the US–India Global Issues Forum — the first since 2012 — to review and expand areas of regional and global cooperation.

Sewall also met with civil society representatives to strengthen cooperation around common interests, including countering violent extremism, religious freedom, trafficking in persons, and transparency and governance.

Sewall also delivered a speech on ‘Democratic Values and Violent Extremism’ at the Vivekananda International Foundation in New Delhi on Thursday in which she expressed concern over increasing “intolerance in India”.

“We have concerns about some of the recent incidents in India,” Sewall quoted as saying in media reports. She cited the Dadri incident and attacks on Churches that took place last year and stated that it was much of a challenge for political leaders, as well as religious leaders, to be setting a firm example about the need to uphold constitutional protections.

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