Townhall Address National

India will succeed as long as it is not splintered along religious lines: Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama during his speech at Siri Fort auditorium in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

India will succeed as long as it is not splintered along religious lines, said U.S President Obama, as he addressed an audience of students and other invitees at the end of his visit to India. His words, along with a pointed reference to article 25 of the Indian constitution which guarantees religious freedom is seen as strong statement on fundamentalism and extremism here and in the United States.

“Every person has the right to practice their faith as they choose, or no faith at all without fear or discrimination, “ said Mr. Obama, admitting that he had often felt “treated differently” because of his background in the US, and also alluding to the attack on a Wisconsin gurdwara in 2012 where six people were killed.

In a speech on avenues for Indo-US partnership that lasted about 40 minutes, President Obama spoke about religious freedom, gender equality and ensuring the poor were able to realise their aspirations for about half the time. “In all countries upholding this freedom is responsibility of government and each person. Religion has been used to tap into dark side of man. India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along religious lines, or other lines.”

President Obama, referred several times in the speech to his wife Michelle Obama, who watched the speech from the front row of the Siri Fort Auditorium in Delhi. Speaking about the kind of cooperation India and the US can build, President Obama said, “Not just natural partners, I believe the US can be India’s best partner. “Mr. Obama drew many similiarities between India and the US, saying he was optimistic about their shared future because “We vote in free elections, reach for similar heights, respect human rights.” He also said that the US wanted to be “first in line” to build Indian infrastructure including “roads, ports, bridges and airports.”

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 11:08:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-will-succeed-as-long-as-it-is-not-splintered-along-religious-lines-obama/article6826088.ece

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