India rejects US Religious Freedom report, says it is proud of its secular credentials

PTI

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar (PTI photo)

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar (PTI photo)

India on Sunday rejected a US religious freedom report, saying it sees no locus standi for a foreign government to pronounce on the state of its citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.

Responding to a query on the latest report on International Religious Freedom published by the US State Department, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance and inclusion.”

The Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all its citizens, including its minority communities, he said.

It is widely acknowledged that India is a vibrant democracy where the Constitution provides protection of religious freedom, and where democratic governance and rule of law further promote and protect fundamental rights, Kumar asserted.

“We see no locus standi for a foreign entity/government to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights,” he said.

Releasing the report at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week said the report was like a report card which tracks countries to see how well they have respected this fundamental human right.

(PTI)