Mr Salmond and Dr Arun Gandhi held talks in Edinburgh during the author and journalist's second visit to Scotland.

Dr Gandhi is on a lecture tour of Scottish universities to promote "living non-violence".

After meeting Mr Salmond, Dr Gandhi said: "I hope that there will be a greater, deeper association with Scotland through the work of non-violence.

"I was pleased to meet the First Minister and discuss my work.

"I also welcome his commitment to consider a proposal for establishing a centre for non-violence, peace and reconciliation in Scotland."

Mr Salmond said Dr Gandhi had built on the work of his grandfather to establish himself as "an international leader" for peace, reconciliation and non-violence, as well as a man to put his beliefs into action.

"A man who, for example, worked with his late wife to rescue and find homes for 123 abandoned new-born babies found on garbage dumps around the Indian city of Mumbai," said the First Minister.

"His lifetime's dedication to the causes which he believes in, are a superb example to us all and I am honoured that he has been able to visit Scotland."

Labour ridiculed the Gandhi comparison.

Scottish Labour justice spokesman Richard Baker said: "Alex Salmond is losing his grip on reality.

"I am staggered that anyone would mention Kenny MacAskill in the same sentence as Mahatma Gandhi.

"The bragging that has gone on at the SNP conference about the release of the Lockerbie bomber is stomach turning and will further damage Scotland's reputation."