India PM Modi will host gay Apple boss Tim Cook for visit… despite keeping homosexuality illegal

PinkNews logo on pink background with rainbow corners.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host Apple’s openly gay CEO Tim Cook – just two months after his MPs voted to keep a law criminalising homosexuality.

Section 377, the country’s colonial-era anti-gay law, was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 2013.

Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party MPs have consistently resisted bids to repeal the law, and in March a private members bill on the issue was voted down by a vote of 58 to 14.

Home Secretary Rajnath Singh insisted previously: “We support Section 377 (the law) because we believe that homosexuality is (an) unnatural act that cannot be supported.”

Despite the law and his party’s position, Modi will host Apple CEO Tim Cook – who is openly gay and has spoken out on LGBT equality in the past few years.

The pair met previously on Modi’s visit to the US last year, but this week Cook will be personally hosted by the PM during his visit to New Delhi.

India Today noted: “And this shows the absurdity of the Section 377, which if you see makes a person like Tim Cook a ‘criminal’ in India, whose ‘crime’ is punishable by life term in jail.

“While we can be sure that Cook, during his meeting with Modi, won’t broach on this subject – even in the US his public advocacy for LGTB rights has been quite subtle until recently – but the mere fact that the Indian Prime Minister is meeting an openly gay person is bound to put spotlight on the plight of Indian gay community.”

The newspaper added: “In India too, he may want to reach out to the LGBT community to show solidarity. May be he can reach out to them publicly. Or maybe he can tweet in their support and highlight the absurdity of Section 377. Now, whether he will do it or not is something we will have wait and watch.”