India’s friendly relations with the Arab countries were not affected in view of the controversial comments made against Prophet Mohammad, the government informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan also said that India continues to attach high priority to further strengthen relations with the Arab world and that it understands the outlook and views of New Delhi on the issue.
He was responding to questions on whether “hate speeches and defamatory" comments made by spokespersons of political parties in India have affected its relations with Arab countries and the government’s response to the statement made against the Prophet. “No. India shares historic and friendly relations with Arab countries which have strengthened significantly in the past few years in different domains, including political, trade and investment, defence, security, science and technology, culture and people-to-people ties," Muraleedharan said.
He further added, “With regard to recent remarks the relevant political organisation has clarified its position. This has been duly recognised by Arab governments." Last month, the BJP suspended its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled from the party its Delhi unit media head Naveen Jindal for allegedly making derogatory comments against the Prophet. To a separate question, Muraleedharan said Qatar, Kuwait, Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia and Azerbaijan summoned the Indian ambassadors in connection with the remarks on the Prophet.
“Our ambassadors conveyed that the remarks were made by individuals and do not, in any manner, reflect the view of the government of India. In line with our civilizational heritage and cultural traditions, India accords highest respect to all religions," the minister said.
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