NEW DELHI :
India on Thursday said it had taken note of the decision by the European Parliament to defer voting on a resolution against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, and would continue to engage with the European Union (EU) parliamentarians to make them understand that it is India’s “internal matter".
New Delhi had also taken note of the European Commission’s clarification that the European Parliament’s views did not reflect the official position of the grouping, said foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar.
“As I have mentioned earlier, the CAA is an internal matter of India. It has been adopted through due process and democratic means. We will continue to engage with the MEPs (members of the European Parliament) and other stakeholders in this matter," he said.
India had reached out to almost all countries of the economically powerful bloc to persuade them against adopting a resolution against the CAA, one person familiar with the developments said, requesting anonymity.
As a compromise, European lawmakers agreed to postpone the voting and get a direct perspective about CAA from Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar, who is scheduled to visit Brussels in the coming weeks.
The European Parliament’s move to vote on the resolution was earlier opposed by India, which said that “as fellow democracies, the EU Parliament should not take action that call into question the rights and authority of democratically-elected legislatures in other regions of the world".
Jaishankar is expected to prepare the ground for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Brussels on 13 March for a bilateral summit with the 28-member bloc. The European Parliament resolutions do not affect the decisions of the European Council or European Commission, but the timing of its passage could have been awkward for Modi as it would have come ahead of the India-European Union summit.
The Strasbourg-based European Parliament was expected to vote on a final joint resolution on CAA put forward by more than 500 of its 751 members from five different groups, on grounds that it was discriminatory against Muslims and violates India’s international obligations, news reports said.
The new citizenship law passed by the Indian Parliament in December 2019 offers citizenship to non-Muslim persecuted religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
The EU resolution also expressed concerns over India’s National Register of Citizens (NRC)—an exercise aimed at identifying illegal immigrants—marking a shift in the way citizenship will be determined in India, thereby creating “a large-scale crisis of statelessness and causing immense human suffering", news reports said.
The European Parliament resolution had described the CAA as “fundamentally discriminatory in nature" and violative of international guidelines on human rights and called on the Indian government to “repeal the discriminatory amendments", according to reports.