Obama warns India over religious divisions

2015-01-27 15:38
US President Barack Obama speaks on US, India relations during a townhall event at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi. (Saul Loeb, AFP)

US President Barack Obama speaks on US, India relations during a townhall event at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi. (Saul Loeb, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New Delhi - US President Barack Obama warned India on Tuesday it would not succeed if it splintered along religious lines, sounding a note of caution after two days of mostly upbeat talks with the country's Hindu nationalist leader.

Obama told an audience of mostly young Indians that everyone should be able to practise their faith without fear of persecution, recalling that the mainly Hindu country's constitution enshrined freedom of religion.

"Nowhere is that more important than India, nowhere is it going to be more necessary for that foundational value to be upheld," he said.

"India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along lines of religious faith."

India is a secular country, but its history is marked with outbreaks of religious violence, notably against its sizeable Muslim minority.

The issue of religious freedom has become particularly contentious since the election last year of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a fervent Hindu nationalist.

The United States blacklisted Modi following anti-Muslim violence that left at least 1 000 people dead in Gujarat, where he was state chief minister before winning last year's election.

Modi, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), denies any wrongdoing and the Indian courts have cleared him of all charges.

But the failure of his administration to control the violence and his refusal to apologise have left a legacy of distrust and suspicion.

Modi has also been heavily criticised for failing to speak out against a BJP lawmaker who recently called for Hindu women to have at least four children to "protect" their religion and supported a recent spate of 're-conversions' to Hinduism.

Modi and Obama have been at pains to stress their rapport throughout the three-day visit, which came just months after the US president hosted India's new premier in Washington.

Read more on:    narendra modi  |  barack obama  |  india  |  us  |  religion

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
41 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.