Days after designating Pakistan, China and 10 others as ‘countries of particular concern, the US on Tuesday said that India is a home to a great diversity of faiths.
Washington, Dec 07: The United States on Tuesday said that India is the world’s largest democracy and home to a great diversity of faiths. US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said, “India of course, is the world’s largest democracy. It’s home to a great diversity of faiths. Our annual report on international religious freedom outlines some of the concerns we’ve taken note of when it comes to India. And we continue to carefully monitor the religious freedom situation in all countries and that includes India.”
“We encourage and will continue to encourage the Indian government to hold its commitment to protecting religious freedom for all,” Price added. “We engage officials regularly on steps they can take to advance religious freedom. As the world’s two largest democracies, the United States and India, we’re also committed to an enduring project,” he said. It comes after Biden administration released the name of countries that are designated under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.
In a press release, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, said, “Finally, I am designating al-Shabab, Boko Haram, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS-Greater Sahara, ISIS-West Africa, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam Wal-Muslimin, the Taliban, and the Wagner Group based on its actions in the Central African Republic as Entities of Particular Concern.” Cuba and Nicaragua has been added to the list of countries of “Particular Concern” and China, Russia, Iran, Burma, Eritrea, North Korea and Pakistan are part of the list.
Turkmenistan as Countries of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom,” Blinken said in a statement. “I am also placing Algeria, the Central African Republic, Comoros, and Vietnam on the Special Watch List for engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom. Finally, I am designating al-Shabab, Boko Haram, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS-Greater Sahara, ISIS-West Africa, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam Wal-Muslimin, the Taliban, and the Wagner Group based on its actions in the Central African Republic as Entities of Particular Concern,” Blinken was quoted as saying by the statement.
The countries are designated in keeping with the values and interests to protect national security and to advance human rights around the globe. The countries that keep these commitments are considered more reliable partners to the US.
Story first published: Wednesday, December 7, 2022, 7:21 [IST]