New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday defended the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Brussels, Belgium where he arrived as a guest of honour for the European Union’s (EU) meet of foreign ministers in the Belgian capital. Also Read - 'No Voting on CAA Resolution Will Take Place at EU Parliament on Thursday,' Confirm Government Sources
At the meet, the Foreign Minister remarked that the critics of the Act had been ‘misled’ by what he called politics of a ‘very passionate’ democratic society. Comparing the CAA rules to immigration and refugee resettlement policies across Europe, he pointed out that many member states of the EU, too, use national or cultural criteria.
“No European country ever said that anybody, anytime, from anywhere in the world can to Europe because they feel it’s nice here,” Jaishankar added. “There are persecuted religious minorities who came to India because here they find many people who have the same faith,” he further said in an apparent jibe at Pakistan, without naming it, also mentioning that some of India’s neighbours ‘have Islam as state religion.’
Counting allegations by the EU Parliament that the CAA would lead to ‘the largest statelessness crisis in the world,‘ he said that the law would, in fact, reduce ‘statelessness’ by granting citizenship to the religiously persecuted minorities.
Last month, members of the EU Parliament had drafted an anti-CAA resolution. It was in this draft that the phrase ‘largest statelessness crisis’ was used.
India, however, had defended the CAA, calling it an ‘entirely internal’ matter, remarking that it would not be right for ‘one legislature to pass judgement on another.‘
In the end, however, no voting took place on the anti-CAA resolution in the EU Parliament as ‘Friends of India prevailed over those of Pakistan‘ there.