Singapore PM’s Remarks On Indian MPs With Criminal Records Uncalled For: Government Sources

NDTV News

Sources say the foreign ministry has summoned the Singapore envoy and conveyed its strong objection

New Delhi:

India has slammed the Singapore Prime Minister’s comments on “Nehru’s India” and the criminal record of MPs and has said it will take it up with the country. “The remarks by the Prime Minister of Singapore were uncalled for. We are taking up the matter with the Singaporean side,” government sources told NDTV today.

Sources said the foreign ministry summoned the Singapore High Commissioner and conveyed its objection.   

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is reported to have made the comment during an impassioned debate in the Singaporean parliament yesterday on how democracy should function.

“…Nehru’s India has become one where, according to media reports, almost half the MPs in the Lok Sabha have criminal charges pending against them, including charges of rape and murder. Though it is also said that many of these allegations are politically motivated,” he said, according to news agency PTI.  

Lee, 70, was trying to make the point that “most countries are founded and start off on the basis of high ideals and noble values”, but gradually, the texture of politics changes. Most political systems today would be “unrecognisable” to their founding leaders, he said. 

Referring to various world leaders including India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the Singapore Prime Minister said: “Things start off with passionate intensity. The leaders who fought for and won independence are often exceptional individuals of great courage, immense culture, and outstanding ability. They came through the crucible of fire and emerged as leaders of men and nations. They are the David Ben-Gurions, the Jawaharlal Nehrus, and we have our own too.”

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Lee continued: “Imbued with enormous personal prestige, they strive to meet the high expectations of their peoples to build a brave new world, and shape a new future for their peoples, and for their countries. But beyond that initial fervour, succeeding generations often find it hard to sustain this momentum and drive.”

“Ben-Gurion’s Israel”, he remarked, had morphed into one which could barely form a government, despite four general elections in two years, and where senior politicians and officials faced criminal charges.

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