India has declared that the "legitimate exercise of freedom of opinion and expression" is essential for countering intolerance.
"The legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression under a Constitutional framework plays an important and positive role in strengthening democracy, promoting pluralism, and combating intolerance," India's Deputy Permanent Representative R. Ravindra said on Tuesday at the Security Council.
He said that India was always committed to a "society based on principles of democracy and pluralism" and believes that it creates an "environment for diverse communities to live together".
"Terrorism is the antithesis of all religions and cultures and the international community should combat both radicalization and terrorism", he said. At the same time, he said, "The United Nations has the responsibility to ensure that countering hate speech and discrimination should not be limited to a select few religions and communities, but should encompass all those affected."
That was a reiteration of Permanent Representative T.S. Tirumurti's more explicit statement in the General Assembly on Monday when he criticized what he said were double standards when it came to non-Abrahamic religions.
He criticized what he said was "ignoring the rise in hatred and discrimination against non-Abrahamic religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism."
The Security Council's Tuesday session was on "Incitement to violence leading to atrocity crimes" in relation to Ukraine and the meeting became a venue for a war of words between the supporters of Ukraine and Russia and its ally China, with India a bystander.
Ravindra's statement reflected India's neutrality over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, neither criticizing Moscow, as most countries on the Council did, nor defending it like China, but speaking in general terms about various forms of incitement to violence and the impact of the conflict there.
He said, "Incitement to violence is the antithesis of peace, tolerance, and harmony."
"India continues to remain deeply concerned at the worsening situation in Ukraine and reiterates its call for the immediate cessation of violence and an end to hostilities," he said.