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India will not be placed on the United States' list of 'Countries of Particular Concern' or 'Special Watch list' this year for violations of religious freedom, said spokesperson Ned Price in a State Department briefing on December 6.

"When it comes to India, India of course is the world's largest democracy. It's home to a great diversity of faiths," Ned Price said, as quoted by news agency ANI.

"Our Annual Report on International Religions Freedom outlines some of the concerns we've taken note of when it comes to India, and we continue to carefully monitor the religious freedom situation in all countries and that includes in India," he added.

The statement came after the Biden administration released the names of countries designated under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, according to which, the US government is required to annually review the status of religious freedom in every country in the world and designate each country the government of which has engaged in or tolerated "particularly severe violations of religious freedom" as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC), according to The Australia Today, as quoted by ANI.

Price, during the press conference, also stated that the US will continue to encourage the Indian government to uphold its commitments to protect religious freedom for all. He added the US government engages foreign officials regularly on steps they can take to advance religious freedom.

Earlier this week, the US Department of State said Cuba and Nicaragua were added to the list of countries of "Particular Concern". Meanwhile, China, Russia, Iran, Burma, Eritrea, North Korea and Pakistan were retained on the list.

The Biden administration said that its announcement of these designations is in keeping with the values and interests to protect national security and to advance human rights around the globe.

"Countries that effectively safeguard this and other human rights are more peaceful, stable, prosperous and more reliable partners of the United States than those that do not," the statement added.

 

(With ANI inputs)

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