Fresh India, Pakistan feud erupts over claims of Hitler-Modi link
Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that a Hindu group linked to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi draws inspiration from German dictator Adolf Hitler, setting off the latest verbal spat between the two often hostile neighbours.
India’s Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, draws its inspiration from Hitler, said Zardari at the United Nations Security Council on Friday.
He was responding to comments from Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar calling Pakistan the epicenter of terrorism.
“I’d like to remind the honorable Minister for External Affairs of India that Osama Bin Laden is dead, but the butcher of Gujarat lives and he is the Prime Minister of India,” said Zardari, referring to religious riots in Modi’s home state in 2002, soon after he became chief minister.
More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in Gujarat province in sectarian rioting. Human rights groups blamed Modi for doing little to stop the violence, allegations that were denied by him and later dismissed by India’s Supreme Court.
“This is the Prime Minister of the RSS and the Foreign Minister of the RSS. The RSS draws its inspiration from Hitler’s SS,” Zardari added.
Relations between Hindu-dominant India and Muslim-majority Pakistan have been hostile since both gained independence from British rule in 1947.
They’ve fought three wars since then, two over the disputed region of Kashmir, an area in the Himalayas claimed in full and ruled in part by both. The two sides often trade barbs, especially over Kashmir.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs called Zardari’s remarks “uncivilized”.
“These comments are a new low, even for Pakistan,” it said in a statement on Friday.
Zardari’s attack on Modi escalated the tone of the spat, leading even Indian opposition leaders to jump into the fray.
“When it comes to standing up for the country internationally, we are all one,” Shashi Tharoor, former junior foreign minister and a lawmaker from the main opposition Congress party, said on Twitter.
Pakistan has seen a rise in terrorist attacks since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan.
Pakistan tops the list of countries at the highest risk of experiencing new mass killings, according to a report by the Early Warning Project, a research organization that identifies countries at risk of mass violence.
India was ranked eighth, as Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has increased its systematic discrimination against the country’s Muslim minority, the report said.