Al Qaeda announced the formation of its first wing dedicated to waging jihad in South Asia earlier this month. Asked about Al Qaeda issuing a video saying he wants to free Muslims from “oppression” they face in Kashmir and Gujarat, Modi said Indian Muslims were patriotic and would not betray their nation.


"Indian Muslims will live for India, they will die for India, they will not want anything bad for India," Modi told CNN, which aired excerpts of the pre-recorded interview on Friday. "If anyone thinks Indian Muslims will dance to their tune, they are delusional."


Al Qaeda said in a statement that it aimed to end the suffering of Muslims in places such as Kashmir, where a violent insurgency against New Delhi's rule raged through the 1990s and resentment still runs high.


Muslims make up some 15 percent of the Indian population, and number an estimated 175 million, giving India the third-largest Muslim population in the world.

When asked why so few of India's Muslims have joined al Qaeda, Modi characterized the threat from Islamist militancy as not about country or one race, calling it a fight between "humanity and inhumanity".


“I am not the authority for doing a psychological and religious analysis on this. But the question is whether or not humanity should be defended in the world. Whether or not believers in humanity should unite. This is a crisis against humanity, not a crisis against one country or one race. So we have to frame this as a fight between humanity and inhumanity, nothing else,” the PM said.


Modi's comments come amid a debate within his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party about how to deal with religious minorities after an inflammatory by-election campaign drew the ire of rights activists and failed to win over voters.


Ahead of a visit to meet US President Barack Obama later this week, Modi said ties between the United States and India, a Cold War ally of the Soviet Union, will continue to improve.


"From the end of the 20th century to the first decade of the 21st century we have witnessed a big change," Modi said. "These ties will deepen further."

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