New York: The nations which use the "facade of human rights" to sponsor terror are "hypocrites of the worst kind", Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar said, in a veiled reference to Pakistan.
In the city to lead India's 70th Independence Day celebrations, Akbar asserted that India is a nation which believes in "faith equality" and not faith "supremacy" as he called terrorism a major threat to human rights.
"Terrorism is the biggest enemy of human rights. Those who use the facade of human rights in order to sponsor barbaric terrorism are hypocrites of the worst kind," Akbar told PTI in New York.
"We (India) do not believe in faith supremacy. Nations created in the name of faith supremacy are coming apart alongthe fault lines of a failed idea," he said on Monday after unfurling the tricolour at the Indian Consulate in a ceremony attended by several members of the Indian community.
"That is why Bangladesh happened in 1971 and that is why Balochistan is simmering now," the journalist-turned-politician said on his maiden visit to the US after assuming charge.
Akbar's remarks came on a day when back home, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also referred to Pakistan's atrocities in the restive Balochistan province and the PoK, prompting a sharp reaction from across the border.
In his address to the community members, Akbar said India represents the very essence of human rights.
"This is the moment to tell the world and ourselves that the greatest enemy of human rights is terrorist and terrorism.
"Faith equality emerges from the ancient philosophy of our nation. The challenge to civilisation and the challenge to stability is coming from those, including in our neighbourhood, who believe in faith supremacy rather than in faith equality, who believe that one faith is supreme or superior to others," he said, in another veiled reference to Pakistan.
He underscored that India believes in freedom and equality for every faith not just before the law but in society as well, adding that freedom is not simply the right to vote but it is the right to express oneself everyday.
"In India, I am a proud Indian Muslim and in my country the Azaan has been heard for 1,400 years and shall be heard for 1,400 years. It emerges out of the belief and will of the Indian people," he said.
Akbar noted the Indian Constitution, created under the "inspiration" of Mahatma Gandhi and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, represents a "template" of modernity, a template for the future and for the whole world.
"Freedom is engrained in our Constitution. Nobody can take away our freedom," he said.
"Our mission for the next 70 years is very clear. It is to turn India and put it on the high table of prosperity not just for some but prosperity for all. That is true nationalism," he said.