India's Supreme Court has said that incidents of religious conversion pose a serious threat to national security.
The court has been hearing a plea by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay urging stringent steps to control fraudulent religious conversion by "intimidation, threatening, deceivingly luring through gifts and monetary benefits".
Describing forced religious conversion as a "very serious" issue, the Supreme Court said there should be sincere efforts to check the practice.
The court warned that a "very difficult situation" will emerge if forced religious conversions are not stopped.
"This is a very serious matter. Sincere efforts are to be made...to stop forced conversions. Otherwise a very difficult situation will come.
"It is a very serious issue which affects security of the nation and freedom of religion and conscience. Therefore, it is better that Union of India may make their stand clear and file counter on what further steps can be taken to curb such forced conversion," the court continued.
Forced conversion is the adoption of a different religion or the adoption of irreligion under duress.
In recent months there have been attacks on some Christian communities in India after right-wing Hindu groups claimed Christian pastors were converting people into Christianity. No evidence has been presented for the claims. Christian communities say the claims have been whipped up to ignite political tensions.