US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is on an official visit to India, on Wednesday called for speaking "strongly" in favour of religious freedom rights and asserted that the world is worse off when they are compromised.
His remarks assume significance as they come days after the State Department, in its annual 2018 International Religious Freedom Report released last week, alleged that mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, particularly Muslims, continued in India in 2018, amid rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef.
"India is the birthplace of four major world religions. Let's stand up together for religious freedom for all, let's speak out strongly together in favour of those rights for whenever we do compromise those rights, the world is worse off," Pompeo said in his India policy speech at the India International Centre here.
He also said the US is pleased to see the UN designating JeM chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist.
Recently India voted against Palestinian NGO that supported terrorism at the UN and showed rewarding terrorism is wrong, he said.
"India is more and more standing up on world stage and the US welcomes its assertiveness," Pompeo said.
He hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump, saying they are leaders who aren't scared to take risks and the two countries are poised to do "incredible things together".
“Right now, we have two leaders in President Trump and PM Modi, who are not afraid to take risks where it’s appropriate. Let's see each other with new eyes and embrace the age of ambition,” Pompeo said.
(With PTI inputs)