India: Religious Freedom

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 27th May 2022.

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Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker Conservative, Wycombe

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has had any recent discussions with Narendra Modi on the Bharatiya Janata Party's persecution of Muslims in India.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief for all and promoting respect and tolerance between different religious and non-religious communities. We condemn any instances of discrimination because of religion or belief, regardless of the country or faith involved. We engage with India on a range of human rights matters and where we have concerns, we raise them directly with the Government of India, including at Ministerial level. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia, also regularly speaks to the High Commissioner of India, and human rights including freedom of religion or belief forms part of that dialogue.

The British High Commission in New Delhi and our network of Deputy High Commissions will continue to follow reports of violence and discrimination closely, while recognising that these are matters for India. It is for the Indian Government to address the concerns of all Indian citizens, regardless of faith. Our network of High Commissions across India also regularly meet religious representatives and have run projects supporting minority rights. For example, we have hosted Iftars to celebrate the important contribution Indian Muslims and other communities have made to Indian society. Moreover, we have supported a UK-India Interfaith Leadership Programme for a cohort of emerging Indian leaders of diverse faith backgrounds, creating an opportunity to exchange UK-India experiences on leading modern, inclusive communities.

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