Only two Indians joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) when the militant outfit sent feelers seeking recruits across the globe, said national security adviser Ajit Doval at the 12th edition of the Hindustan Leadership Summit on Saturday.
“In most cases, the parents approached the police and they worked with our security agencies to ensure that the youths were convinced not to join the ISIS,” Doval told a packed audience of policymakers, diplomats and industrialists.
In stark comparison, France that has a minority community much smaller than India’s 130 million Muslims, has seen over 2000 people join the ISIS.
The extremist outfit, also known as Islamic State, has carved out huge swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, but has found itself on the back foot recently after airstrikes by the United States left many of its fighters injured.
“All the religious leaders have issued a fatwa against the ISIS and that shows India’s strength,” Doval said. A similar call from al Qaeda also failed to gain traction with young people from India refusing to join the international terror outfit.
The national security adviser said the threat posed by ISIS could bleed India but couldn’t degrade such an ancient and strong civilisation.
“India is essentially a civilisational state and has a tremendous capacity to take losses. They can create a few incidents, create tragedies, but they lack the ability to degrade us,” he said.
Doval also stressed the need to use India’s soft power, trade and economy to engage the world.
“We have a huge demographic future with 300 million people below the age of 35 years. We have to keep them happy and ensure good governance to ensure our security,” Doval said.
The foundations of a democracy did not lie in the ballot box, but in the rule of law, he added. As long as there was justice and equality, Doval said, India’s future was secure.