India on Saturday reacted strongly to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks about religious minorities in India. Khan had told PTV News that Pakistan would ensure it treats all its minorities as equal citizens, “unlike how the Muslims are being treated in India as second-class citizens”.

“The Pakistan prime minister’s remarks are an egregious insult to all citizens of India,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. “He has has yet again demonstrated his lack of understanding about India’s secular polity and ethos.” India’s statement said that followers of all faiths choose to live under India’s democratic polity and “progressive Constitution”.

“India has eminent leaders of all faiths who occupy its highest Constitutional and official positions. In contrast, Pakistani citizens of non-Islamic faith are barred from occupying high Constitutional offices,” the statement added. “The minorities are often turned away from government bodies like the Economic Advisory Council of their prime minister.”

This was a reference to the Pakistan government’s decision to withdraw the nomination of Atif Mian to the Economic Advisory Council last year. Mian’s nomination was withdrawn after regional political parties demonstrated against an Ahmaddiya Muslim holding office.

On Saturday, India advised Pakistan to focus on its domestic problems and improve the lives of its citizens instead of trying to “divert attention”. “The Pakistan prime minister’s latest attempts to play with minority sentiment in India will be rejected by the people of India,” the Ministry of External Affairs added.

On China’s objection to Modi’s visiting Arunachal

The Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday said that “Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalienable part of India”, after China objected to Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the state.

The ministry said New Delhi has conveyed its opinion to Beijing on several occasions.

Beijing on Saturday claimed its stance on the boundary between the two countries is consistent and clear-cut. “The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh and is firmly opposed to the Indian leader’s visit to the East Section of the China-India boundary,” China’s foreign ministry said.