Sitharaman slams Obama for comments on Indian Muslims: 'Bombed six countries…’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Nirmala Sitharaman slams Barack Obama for comments on Indian Muslims: 'Bombed six countries…’

Jun 25, 2023 10:55 PM IST

Despite passing comments on religious freedom in India, Sitharaman added that she was restraining herself as they value the friendship with US.

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday hit out at former US president Barack Obama for his remarks on protection of Muslims in India amid PM Modi’s State visit at the invitation of President Joe Biden. Alleging that six Muslim-majority countries were attacked with over 26,000 bombs when Obama was the US president, the FM questioned how his claims can be believed. Despite passing comments on religious freedom in India, Sitharaman added that she was restraining herself as they value the friendship with the US.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses a press conference at BJP headquarters, in New Delhi, Sunday, June 25, 2023.(PTI)
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses a press conference at BJP headquarters, in New Delhi, Sunday, June 25, 2023.(PTI)

Watch | FM Nirmala's Brutal Swipe at Obama over Minorities in India Row

"...It was surprising that when the PM was visiting the US, a former US President (Barack Obama) was making a statement on Indian Muslims...I am speaking with caution, we want friendship with the US, but we get comments from there on India's religious tolerance. Six Muslim-dominated countries were bombed under his (Obama) rule. More than 26,000 bombs were dropped…how will people trust his words?" she said.

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Read: 'I speak for country': BJP leader on 'Muslims in India' row over Modi's US visit; 'Mathew, Mohammad, Madhav…'

Obama in an interview to CNN had said that India may fall apart if the rights of the religious and ethnic minorities are not upheld. He also suggested that the issue is worth mentioning during Biden-Modi discussions, in a reference to the former US President's Muslim ancestry.

“If I had a conversation with Prime Minister Modi, who I know well, part of my argument would be that if you don’t protect the rights of ethnic minorities in India, there is a strong possibility that India would at some point start pulling apart,” he said.

Amid Modi being conferred with the ‘Order of the Nile’ during his ongoing visit to Egypt, the FM noted that the PM had been awarded the highest civilian honours in 13 countries of which six have Muslims in majority.

Obama’s comments were earlier criticised by Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who tweeted that there are many "Hussain Obamas" in the country and the state police will crack down on it.

In a rare occurrence, Modi fielded questions from the media at a joint press appearance with President Biden in the White House during his maiden State visit to the US. The PM was questioned about reports of attacks on religious minorities and free speech in India to which he replied, “Democracy is our spirit and bloods. We love democracy…the government works on the basis of democratic constitution.”

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