Delivering a speech on ‘Countering Radicalization: Challenges before Modern Society’ at the Tajik National University here, Kovind said he chose the topic for two reasons.
“First, your country has done commendable work to tackle this global menace and foster peace for one and all. And the world must recognise it,” he said.
“Second, the battle against terrorism, extremism and radicalism must be fought, first and foremost, in the minds of people, between those who believe in peace, love and humanity and those who feed on hatred, death and destruction.”
Describing it as a battle of opposing ideas, of humanity on one hand and a make-belief world on the other, Kovind said that “talking to the youth, our future; and scholars, our guide and path-finders, therefore, becomes essential”.
He said that all religions and thoughts have prospered and blossomed in the land of the Pamir and the Himalayas.
“Today, we are confronted with those who wish to burn and destroy the fabric of our faiths, the embrace of our togetherness,” the President stated.
“The people of this country have made enormous sacrifice to stop the surge of bigotry and faith-based regressive ideas from capturing centre-stage,” he said.
“This not only saved your budding Republic in the 1990s, but also fire-walled your neighbouring Central Asian Republics. They too, were then, struggling with challenges that young nations face. We sincerely hope there is deeper understanding of the geo-political significance of the Tajik civil war.”
Pointing out that there are renewed attempts to impose obscurantist thoughts on peaceful societies, Kovind said that this is threatening the very foundation of human civilisation.
“Their targets are people and societies, who value progressive life and respect diversity of faiths and cultures,” he said.
“Notwithstanding your historic struggle and subsequent victory in the civil war, the long-drawn war is far from over.”
Emphasising that no religion, whether Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Sikhism or Judaism, justifies violence and killing one human being by the other, he said all religions “talk in one language and that is the language of peace, harmony, compassion and kindness”.
“The war on terror and radicalisation is not against any religion, and should never be,” he stated.
“Quite on the contrary, it is against those who believe in destroying the creation of the Almighty.”
Kovind lauded the leadership of Tajik President Eamoli Rahmon in fighting terrorism and countering radicalisation.
Earlier in the day, Kovind and Rahmon, during a bilateral meeting, decided to boost connectivity between India and Central Asia and join hands in the figh against terrorism.
Kovind arrived here on Sunday in what is his first visit to Central Asia as President.