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NSA Doval says ‘India is an inclusive democracy’; Islamic scholar Issa describes ‘India as a great model of diversity’

National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval on Tuesday said that India is an inclusive democracy and gives space to all citizens.

Addressing an event, while sharing the dais with the noted Islamic Saudi Arabian scholar and Secretary General of Muslim World League Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, Doval said, “Islam occupies a unique position in India and the Indian Muslim population is equal to 33 member states of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).”

OIC is a grouping of which Saudi Arabia and several Islamic nations including Pakistan are members.

Doval’s comments on religious inclusivity in India came after Issa in his address said that India with its diversity is a great model for coexistence (of all religions), while adding that Islam promotes tolerance.

The NSA said that India is the mother of democracy and the largest democracy and also has been a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities.

Doval said that India has been a sanctuary for persecuted people from across the world, adding that “As a proud civilisational state, India believes in promoting tolerance, dialogue and cooperation to deal with the challenges of our time.”

The NSA emphasised that involvement of Indian citizens in global terrorism has been extremely low.

“India is an extremely responsible power but when the need for a hot pursuit against terrorist havens was felt, we have gone all out to destroy terrorism in our national interest,” Doval said.

He said that India is proud of its relationship with Saudi Arabia, as the ties are rooted in shared cultural values.

Speaking after Issa’s address, the NSA said: “Muslim World League Secretary General’s message is loud and clear that we live in harmony, we live in peace if you would like to protect the future of humanity…Excellency your deep understanding of Islam, the religions of the world and incessant efforts towards interfaith harmony, courage to persistently lead on the path of reforms has not only contributed to a better understanding of Islam and its contribution to humanity, but also prevented extremist and radical ideologies from plaguing the young mind.”

“From India, we send a message of peace to the world,” Issa said earlier in his address.

The Muslim World League Secretary General Sheikh Dr Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa said: “We reach out to the different components and diversity with a common objective that we share. We have heard a lot about Indian wisdom and we know that Indian wisdom has contributed a lot to humanity.

“We know that we have a common objective of co-existing peacefully together. We know that the Indian component with all its diversity is a great model for coexistence not only in mere words but also on the ground and we appreciate all the efforts taken in this regard,” he said.

He noted that Muslim components in the Indian society are proud of their nationality that they are Indian nationals and they are proud of their Constitution.

“A Muslim person carries the banner of peace. Islam is an open book for all and promotes coexistence,” Issa noted.

“India is a Hindu majority country, but its Constitution is secular. We have outreach with Hindu leaders, like Sadh Guru and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. We have common values to promote peace and stability,” Issa said.

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