PM Narendra Modi says al-Qaeda India branch delusional

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India’s Prime Minister
India’s Prime Minister Modi

Indian PM Narendra Modi has dismissed al-Qaeda’s plan to set up an Indian branch, saying that the group was “delusional” to think that Indian Muslims “will dance to its tune”.

“Indian Muslims will live for India and die for India,” Mr Modi told CNN in his first major broadcast interview.

Earlier this month, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri said al-Qaeda in India would “raise the flag of jihad”.

India issued a security alert in several states after the announcement.

Correspondents say that although al-Qaeda has no presence on the ground in India, there is concern it is trying to reach out to disaffected Muslim youths, especially in Kashmir and Gujarat.

“My understanding is that they are doing injustice towards the Muslims of our country. If anyone thinks Indian Muslims will dance to their tune, they are delusional. Indian Muslims…will not want anything bad for India,” Mr Modi told the news channel, which aired excerpts of the pre-recorded interview on Friday.

Islamic militant groups operating in India are mostly connected to Kashmiri separatists and have links, tenuous at best, to al-Qaeda via Pakistan-based groups.

Mr Modi said the threat from Islamist groups was a “crisis against humanity, not a crisis against one country or one race”.

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