Deftly deflecting a “potential nuclear bomb” of a question about Donald Trump’s call to bar entry of all Muslims to US, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said Muslims in India “gel well.”
“I think your question to me has the potential for [a] nuclear bomb,” he said amid laughter when asked about India’s reaction to Republican presidential frontrunner’s controversial call.
Declining to “comment on what has been talked about in the US”, Parrikar said: “As far as India is concerned, we believe that we are the second-largest Muslim population. And we gel well.”
“We believe that everyone has equal opportunity, equal rights,” he said. “Yes, maybe there are a few small pockets of extremism, radicalization, but there 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,” Parrikar said. “Those who are radicalized is a different issue. We tackle them separately, but that is — those who were terrorists.”
US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter also declined to comment “on anything that is going on in the campaign trail” as defence “is a department that stands apart from politics.”
“But as the president (Barack Obama) has said this, that as a matter of fact in the fight against ISIL that this is not a fight with Muslims or Islam.”
“It’s not, as they would like to have us say, a Westernizing of the conflicts in Iraq and Syria,” Carter said.
“This is an extremist, violent movement which threatens America and needs to be defeated. And we’re working on accelerating the defeat of ISIL. That’s the important thing.”