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9th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations UNAOC Ministerial Group of Friends High-Level Meeting (22 November 2022; Fes, Morocco)

India Statement By

Dr. Ausaf Sayeed,
Secretary (CPV & OIA), Ministry of External Affairs of India

H.E. Mr. Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates of the Kingdom of Morocco,

H.E. Mr. Miguel Moratinos, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations,

Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,

I am honoured to represent India at this important meeting. The UNAOC has an important mandate to foster a genuine culture of peace and to promote understanding among different cultures, religions, faiths and indeed civilizations. India values the important role of UNAOC and appreciates its activities in line with the mandate.

UNAOC continues to provide a space and platform for this crucial dialogue which helps in bridging differences, diffusing tensions and preventing conflicts. This is even more critical today, as the world continues to grapple with armed conflicts and humanitarian emergencies.

The Indian civilization is an embodiment of diversity and of universal values of democracy and pluralism. In fact, when we talk about civilizations, one can hardly imagine an inter-civilizational dialogue without India being a part of it.


India is not only the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, but is also the land where the teachings of Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism have taken strong root and where the Sufi

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tradition of Islam has flourished. Today, every one of the world’s major religions has a home in India, making it a nation of unparalleled diversity.

“Sarva Dharma Samabhava” is a unique concept of Indian secularism which maintains that all religions are inherently good and worthy of equal respect. This principle of equal respect and treatment for all faiths has been a part of India's ethos for thousands of years. This principle is also integral to the Constitution of India.

India considers the entire world as one family. This enduring philosophy has guided our constant interaction and exchange of thoughts with the outside world.

In fact, the theme of India’s G20 Presidency, which we assume on 1st December, is “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or “One Earth One Family One Future” which essentially affirms the value of all life – human, animal, plant, and micro-organisms – and their interconnectedness on the planet Earth and in the wider universe.


We firmly believe that pluralism, tolerance, mutual respect and the diversity of religions and beliefs are the foundation for promoting human fraternity and fostering a culture of peace.

The tradition of welcoming, respecting and honouring all faiths is as old as India itself.

The great Indian philosopher, Swami Vivekananda said in his historic speech at Parliament of World Religions in Chicago in 1893 “We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true”.

Mahatma Gandhi also conveyed a similar message when he said “I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the culture of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible.”


Unfortunately, we are witnessing disconcerting trends in the world of today. There is a surge in instances of intolerance, discrimination and acts of violence based on religion or belief. We strongly condemn such acts of discrimination or violence motivated by anti-semitism, Christianophobia and Islamophobia.

At the same time however, we are deeply concerned with the growing manifestations of intolerance, discrimination or violence against followers of other religions. These have contributed to the emergence of contemporary forms of religio-phobia, especially anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist and anti-Sikh phobias.

It is an undeniable fact that such contemporary forms of religio-phobias are on the rise and need to be factored in our discussions. We cannot exclude them on account of political expediencies.

We express our deep concern on the growing increase in incidents of attacks on religious places, including churches, gurudwaras, monasteries, mosques, temples, synagogues and other religious sites.

Incidents of violence against minority communities, including attacks on their places of worship, their cultural heritage, as well as their private property are on rise with impunity. A ‘climate of fear’ continues to impact drastically the daily lives of minorities in our neighboring country.


As the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations turned seventeen, it is imperative that we strengthen our approach towards how we deal with cultural and religious diversity in order to promote peace and development. In this regard, I would like to make following specific points:

First, UNAOC must not restrict itself to the three Abrahamic religions but go beyond them to have greater inclusivity in the dialogue process and ensure that the inter-religious dialogue encompasses all faiths and is not selective.

Second, we strongly urge the UNAOC to focus on the rise of contemporary forms of hate and intolerance against non-Abrahamic religions as well.

Third, we must stand united against the forces that seek to displace dialogue and peace through brute force, hate speech and disinformation. Here, I would like to commend the leadership of the Kingdom of Morocco in tabling the resolution last year which proclaimed 18 June as the International Day for Countering Hate Speech. India was happy to co- sponsor this important resolution.

Fourth, democracy and pluralism should be the bedrock to foster mutual understanding, promote peace building and better governance worldwide.

Fifth, the Alliance of Civilizations should focus on issues that unite us rather than on those that divide us. We must refrain from making the Alliance a platform for divisive political rhetoric which takes us nowhere.

Sixth, terrorism, which is a manifestation of intolerance and violence, is the antithesis of all religions and cultures. The world should be concerned by terrorists who use religion to justify these acts and also by those who support them in this quest. We must adopt a zero-tolerance policy against terrorism and violent extremism.

Last but not the least, we need to strengthen the role and participation of women and youth in various activities aimed at promoting inter-cultural and inter-religious understanding, compassion and respect.


Today, the world stands divided on a range of issues. This is not the time to divide us even further. This is the time for us to work together to strengthen the Alliance’s role and response in building a culture of peace.

In the spirit of our civilizational ethos India remains committed to spread the message of humanity, democracy and non-violence. India will continue to strengthen the activities of UNAOC to promote understanding, tolerance and mutual respect.

I thank you for your attention.