Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday stressed that India would remain a pluralistic country where "socio-religious variety" was respected and said the country did not belong to any group of religious extremists.
"Undoubtedly, India must remain a nation where pluralism and socio-religious variety are respected and honoured," he said while addressing the conference of the State Minorities Commissions.
"In a pluralistic society like ours, national identity cannot be adjudged by any litmus test simply showing cent per cent homogeneity because unlike many other monoracial, monoreligious and monolingual countries, a cent per cent homogenous society had never existed and does not exist in India."
In a strong message against the Hindutva idea being advocated by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its sister parties, Manmohan Singh said: "This nation does not belong to any single race, least of all to any group of religious extremists."
"It belongs to a mosaic of religiously, linguistically and culturally varied communities and we celebrate that diversity."
He added: "Let us create an environment where all Indians can strive for equitable prosperity transcending the religious divide. Let us once again dream as did the great martyrs of Indian freedom movement and work for systematic reconstruction of our multi-racial polity and society."
The prime minister also called for dialogue between different religious groups for better understanding among them.
"While rituals, theologies and institutions might vary from religion to religion, the basic religious values are common in all the great religions; the basic values in one religion are complementary to the other.
"Dialogue is the only way to promote better understanding between the various religious communities," he said.