While US Republican candidate Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim remarks has provoked condemnation from across the political spectrum, India has remained fairly mute on the topic.
Though the topic has been in the shadows for India, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar could not completely duck it when he was recently asked by an American reporter to respond to Trump’s comments in the aftermath of the California shooting.
The Defence minister said:
“I’ll not comment on what has been talked about in the US, but as far as India is concerned, we have the second largest Muslim population in the world and we gel well. We believe that everyone has equal opportunity, equal rights.”
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“Yes, maybe there are a few small pockets of extremism, radicalisation, but they are too few to treat the different sections of society differently, In India, we have equal rights for everyone, and we don’t look towards communities with suspicion. Those who are radicalised is a different issue. We tackle them separately, but that is – those were terrorists.”
Looking at the aftermath of California shooting, Parrikar said Trump’s remark had the “potential of a nuclear bomb.” However, he didn’t elaborate further on the topic.
Earlier this week, Trump had called for “a total and complete shutdown” of Muslims who were entering the US with regards to the aftermath of the California massacre, and had received a global condemnation for his remark.
Republicans, Democrats, Muslim leaders, the UN and foreign leaders criticised the call as dangerous and divisive.
His campaign manager said that would apply to “everybody” – would-be immigrants and tourists.
Earlier, a Muslim couple, believed to have been radicalised, opened fire and killed 14 people at a health centre in San Bernardino.
Parrikar, the first Indian Defence Minister to have addressed the Pentagon correspondents, earlier held talks with his American counterpart Ashton Carter on key defence and regional and global security issues.