“We gel well” in India, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said in response to a question about Donald Trump’s controversial call for banning Muslim from the US.
“We are the second largest Muslim population and we gel well,” Parrikar said in response to a question about Trump at a news briefing in view of India’s long experience as a nation with diverse populations.
“We believe that everyone has equal opportunities, equal rights. Yes, may be there are a few small pockets of extremism and radicalization but those are too few to treat different sections of society differently.”
“We don’t look towards communities with suspicion,” he said.
He avoided a direct response to Trump saying it would be a “nuclear bomb”.
Parrikar is on his first visit to the US as defence minister, and has notched up several firsts — he is the first Indian defence minister to visit the US pacific command based in Hawaii.
Later on Thursday he was scheduled to go aboard a US aircraft carrier, also a first by an Indian defence ministers. Both these first were pointed out by US secretary of defence Ash Carter at a joint news briefing they did at the Pentagon.
Both officials said they discussed an entire range of issues, kindling cooperation in jet engines and aircraft carrier design and construction, two projects of collaboration currently.
Carter said they also discussed “expanding our military engagement from the annual Malabar exercise this year to India’s participation in Pacific rim exercise next year and return for the fist in eight year to Red Flag, the premier air-to-air exercise”.
In his opening remarks, Parrikar said India and the US have achieved much more in the months since June, when he took charge, than “what we achieved in 50 years”.