World peace great challenge: Najma Heptulla

New Delhi, Sep 17 (IANS) India continues to be a “benchmark” by providing perfect illustration in spiritual co-existence, union Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla said on Thursday.

She said achieving and sustaining world peace was one of the fundamental challenges.

“Ours is a land of many languages, cultures and religions. For centuries, almost all religions practiced in different parts of the world have existed peacefully in India and continue to do so,” she said while addressing a conference on world peace here.

No other country in the world embraces the extraordinary mixture of ethnic groups, the abundance of mutually incomprehensible languages, the varieties of topography and climate, the diversity of religions and cultural practices and the range of levels of economic development that India does, she said.

Quoting her grand-uncle Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, India’s first education minister, she said eleven hundred years of common history (between Hindus and the Muslims) have “enriched India with our common achievements”.

To achieve world peace, she said it was “necessary for us to develop a sense of responsibility, a deep concern for all, irrespective of creed, colour, sex, or nationality”.

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