Islamic heritage of India, C Asia has rejected extremism: Modi

Astana: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today underlined the Islamic heritage of both India and Central Asia defined by the highest ideals and said it has always rejected the forces of extremism.

Modi, who flew to Kazakhstan’s capital from Uzbekistan earlier in the day, said the confluence of Indian and Islamic civilisations took place in Central Asia and enriched each other not only in spiritual thought but also in medicine, science, mathematics and astronomy.

Addressing a gathering at the Nazerbayev University, the Prime Minister also made a strong pitch for enhanced defence and security cooperation with the Central Asian countries, saying, “We live at the frontier of instability. We live close to the crucible of extremism and terrorism. We see terrorism spawned by nations and groups. Today, we also see cyber space become a platform without borders for terror to draw recruits to its cause.

“So, during this visit, we will strengthen our defence and security cooperation in the region. But, we will also combat terrorism by the strength of our values and our commitment to humanism.”

Asserting that he has come to write a “new chapter in an ancient relationship”, Modi said,”the Islamic heritage of both India and Central Asia is defined by the highest ideals of Islam ?- knowledge, piety, compassion and welfare. This is a heritage founded on the principle of love and devotion.

“And, it has always rejected the forces of extremism.

Today, this is an important source of strength that brings India and Central Asia together.”

Immediately after his arrival, Modi also held talks with his Kazakh counterpart Karim Massimov on various key bilateral and regional issues. The Prime Minister will be holding comprehensive talks with the Kazakh President tomorrow after which the two countries are likely to ink number of pacts including in the field of energy.

During his nearly half-an-hour speech, Modi touched upon other important issues including regional connectivity, establishment of a 21st century silk route and economic integration between India and Central Asian countries.