Malaysia's top diplomat summoned to MEA

Malaysia's top diplomat summoned to MEA

Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. (Reuters Photo)

The Government on Saturday summoned a senior diplomat of the High Commission of Malaysia in New Delhi to lodge “a solemn protest” after Prime Minister of the South-East Asian nation Mahathir Mohamad once again criticized the new citizenship law of India.

The Charge d'Affairs of the High Commission of Malaysia in New Delhi was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs, where senior officials conveyed to his displeasure of Government of India over the remarks made by Mahathir Mohamad in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

Mahathir was addressing a news conference after hosting a summit of the leaders of Islamic nations in Kuala Lumpur when he criticized the new Citizenship (Amendment) Act of India. He said that India was a secular state and the religions of people should not prevent them from attaining citizenship. “To exclude Muslims from becoming citizens, even by due process, I think, is unfair,” said Prime Minister of Malaysia.

His comment came at a time protest against the new law spread across India. New Delhi dismissed his remarks as “ill-informed and insensitive”.

The senior officials of the MEA conveyed to the Charge d'Affairs of the High Commission of Malaysia that such remarks by Prime Minister of the South East Asian nation were neither in keeping with accepted diplomatic practice of non-interference in each other's internal affairs nor with the state of the bilateral relations between New Delhi and Kuala Lumpur.

Mohamad had questioned the necessity of the new citizenship law of India on Friday too. New Delhi had issued a statement underlining that Malaysian Prime Minister had again commented on a matter “entirely internal” to India.

Mahathir had earlier repeatedly criticized New Delhi's August 5 decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and reorganize the state into two Union Territories.

“The Citizenship (Amendment) Act provides for citizenship through naturalization to be fast-tracked for non-citizens who are persecuted minorities from three countries,” the MEA said in a press-release issued in New Delhi on Friday. “The Act does not impact in any manner on the status of any citizen of India, or deprive any Indian of any faith of her or his citizenship.”

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