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Countries knew it wasn’t govt position: Jaishankar on Prophet row

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New Delhi, Jun 18: Days after several nations expressed outrage over controversial remarks on Prophet Mohammad by the BJP's two now-removed functionaries, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said sensibilities and the sensitivities of people were impacted which the countries articulated but they did appreciate that this was not the position of the government.

Jaishankar

He asserted that what was said was not the position of the BJP and the party had made it "very clear in very strong terms", and took action.

"The countries not just in the Gulf, I would say even in southeast Asia some countries, who had concerns do appreciate that this was not the position of the government," Jaishankar said when asked about the controversy at a townhall organised by CNN-News18.

"They (the countries that expressed concern) deal with us they know what we are about... they know that these are not our views," he said. Once the party clarified its position, our expectation is that the people will understand that, Jaishankar said.

"There will be people who will fish in troubled waters. International relations is a very competitive game which is not played by Queensberry rules. There will be people who will try to get most if it," the external affairs minister said without naming any country.

"We need to engage, we need to put across our point of view and we are doing it. Even in the last few days, you can see people do understand that what is the true picture in India," he asserted.

Asked about why India should be lectured by countries that are not a patch on it in democratic terms, the minister said he does not look at the whole issue in that manner.

"I am also a little sensitive to being lectured. But I would not take this issue as a lecture. I think this was an issue where the sensibilities and the sensitivities of people were impacted. So they were articulating that," Jaishankar said.

He said it has to be made very clear what we stand for and the party had done that. Several Muslim-majority nations had expressed outrage and condemnation over the controversial remarks on the Prophet.

The BJP had suspended its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled its Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal after their controversial remarks.

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