Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said India, unlike Pakistan, was not a theocratic country because it considers everyone in the world as one family, PTI reported.

Speaking at a National Cadet Corps camp in Delhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said: “We [India] said we would not discriminate among religions. Why did we do that? Our neighbouring country [Pakistan] has declared that their state has a religion. They have declared themselves a theocratic state. We didn’t declare so.”

He claimed that even America was a theocratic country. “India is not a theocratic country,” he added. “Why? Because our saints and seers did not just consider the people living within our borders as part of the family, but called everyone living in the world as one family.”

Singh’s remarks came amid protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, which has been criticised for specifying six religious identities for refugees who will be considered for Indian citizenship from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Act does not name Muslims.