India files formal protest over Mahathir’s remarks

Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

PETALING JAYA: India has lodged a formal protest over remarks made by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad regarding a controversial citizenship law which has sparked protests in India.

Mahathir had reportedly said, “I am sorry to see that India, which claims to be a secular state, is now taking action to deprive some Muslims of their citizenship.”

The Times of India reported that the Malaysian Chargé d’Affaires in New Delhi was summoned by the Indian foreign ministry and told that “such remarks are neither in keeping with accepted diplomatic practice of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, nor with the state of bilateral relations”.

Malaysia was told that such remarks were “both ill-informed and insensitive” and has been urged to take a long-term strategic view of the bilateral relations, the report said, quoting unidentified sources.

On Friday, the external affairs ministry had termed Mahathir’s remarks as “factually incorrect” and said Malaysia should refrain from commenting on the internal developments of India, especially without a right understanding of the facts.