Parrikar evades question on Trump's call to ban Muslims in US

Washington, Dec 11: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar deftly ducked a "potential nuclear bomb" of a question on Donald Trump's controversial call to ban all Muslims entering America, saying "in India, we gel well" and "don't look towards communities with suspicion".

"I think your question to me has the potential of a nuclear bomb," Parrikar said amid laughter on being asked by an American reporter to respond to the Republican presidential front-runner's recent comments in the aftermath of the California shooting.

Parrikar in US evades question on Trump

Steering clear of either condemning or endorsing Trump's remarks directly, Parrikar said that in India, "we don't look towards communities with suspicion".

"I'll not comment on what has been talked about in the US, but as far as India is concerned, we are the second largest Muslim population in the world and we gel well. "We believe that everyone has equal opportunity, equal rights.

"Yes, maybe there are a few small pockets of extremism, radicalisation, but they are too few to treat the different sections of society differently," Parrikar said at the joint press conference with his American counterpart Ashton Carter.

"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 who were terrorists," Parrikar said in response to a question at the first interaction by an Indian Defence Minister with Pentagon correspondents.

On Tuesday, controversial business tycoon Trump had called for "a total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the US in the aftermath of the California massacre, in his most divisive remarks yet that drew widespread global condemnation including from his party's rival candidates and the White House.

According to a statement issued by his campaign, Trump called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

Parrikar earlier held talks with Carter on key defence and regional and global security issues.


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