Following the two successive crackdowns, the US sought a clarification from New Delhi for limiting "a necessary and critical debate within Indian society".
Asked about his earlier comment of potential "chilling effect" that India could face due to its action curbing activism in the country, Verma sought to explain that he spoke in a "spirit of partnership, friendship" between the two countries that have common political values, including their belief in civil society. Taking little notice of union minister Kiren Rijiju's observation on Verma's remark, the US envoy said that the bilateral relations between the two countries were "strong" at this point.
"We have had discussions on civil nuclear, defense co-production, intellectual property, WTO. We were only stuck on those issues that we were not talking about. We can and must have a conversation about this," he added.
Rijiju on Thursday had said, "one should not overreact on a subject where government has not gone out of (the) provisions of law".