India as a country cannot grow if Muslims and other marginalised populations are left behind, said the Chairman of the Institute of Objective Studies (IOS), Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam.
Delivering a presidential address at the two-day conference titled "India and the Muslim World in the 21st Century", Dr. Alam said the benefits of education, health, employment and enterprise were yet to reach around 100 million Muslims, who should also be seen as part of India's growth story.
Calling on developed countries of the Muslim world to invest in India's education, healthcare, low-cost housing, public transport and social infrastructure, he said: "This long term investment will make them stakeholders in India's success. It will also add a new dimension to the legacy of our common Islamic civilization."
Minority Affairs Minister K. Rahman Khan said: "India is a major importer of hydrocarbon energy from the Gulf countries and the six million expatriate community sends billions of dollars to India in the form of remittances. In the past the West exploited both India and the Muslim world. The time has come for both regions to work together for the prosperity of our people."
"In this era of globalisation, India has opened its doors for investment in various sectors. It is a golden opportunity for Muslim countries, especially the Arab business community, to invest heavily in this country. The future for investment is Asia as the West is in the grip of economic recession," he added.
"The Muslim world should not become victim of divide and rule policy. The end of Cold War has brought about a fundamental change in India's policy towards the Middle East," Khan said.
Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat said: "We should do our part to find the reasons why the Muslim community is lagging behind. The government has taken steps to address the situation but more needs to be done."
Drawing attention to Muslim youths languishing in jail without trial, he stated: "We feel for those innocent youths. The law of the land cannot have different yardsticks."
The global conference discussed various issues, including Islam's role and relevance in India, economic and financial relations, Islamic banking and finance, scope for educational cooperation, international and diplomatic relations.
The need for Saudi Arabia to invest in India's education, healthcare, low-cost housing, public transport social and infrastructure sectors was also another area of focus at the conference.
The conference was attended by several foreign delegates, especially from Saudi Arabia. It unfolded various facets of development taking place at the global, regional and national levels. (ANI)