“We have made available fact sheets and briefs for the consideration of the esteemed Members of Parliament interested in specific themes to enable them to disregard any misinformation or incomplete or false portrayal of the ground realities that may be reaching them and, instead, rely on verifiable data to have a more comprehensive appreciation of India,” according to a statement issued by the High Commission.
“We believe that disruptions to the overall communal harmony – that may occur in a population as large and diverse as India’s must not be generalized to portray our whole nation, unique in its commitment to a centuries-old tradition of religious tolerance and harmonious co-existence of people of all faiths,” the High Commission mentioned.
“The people of India have due respect and regard for parliaments of the world – just as they regard their own as a most sacred institution of India’s democracy. However, we believe that debates and discussions are purposeful if they are based on facts, authentic information and a thorough and accurate perception of issues,” it said.
The High Commission also noted that it was glad that there was a considerable mutual appreciation with the UK government regarding the ‘strong, secure and vibrant social fabric’ between both nations.
It said it also looked forward to working with all friends of India to enhance mutual understanding and respect and to strengthen the abiding friendship and fruitful co-operation between the people of India and the UK.
The UK government on Tuesday defended India’s position on religious rights and praised its “diversity” and “rich tapestry of religious minorities alongside its sizable Hindu majority” during a Westminster Hall debate on ‘Persecution of Muslims, Christians and minority groups in India’.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) minister Nigel Adams, assured the MPs that any “difficult issues” around human rights are raised in a free and open manner with the Indian counterparts. “Those of us who have had the pleasure of visiting India know that it is a magnificent country. It is one of the most religiously diverse countries in the world,” the minister said.
Theresa Villiers, a former Cabinet minister, challenged the other side by calling India “a stable and increasingly prosperous home to around 200 million Muslims and 32 million Christians”.
“I argue that India’s record on minority faiths stands up to scrutiny. I do not accept that there is evidence of systemic or state-sponsored persecution of religious minorities,” said Villiers and instead asked the MPs to focus on Pakistan and China.