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Will Obama's remark on religious intolerance sore US-India relations?
The US President Barack Obama's recent remark on the state of religious harmony in India, his advice to Indian government for a safeguard against religious intolerance and silence of Indian Prime Minister Modi on the remark have led to speculations on the ties between the two countries.

Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on last Thursday had said without singling out any particular religion, "In past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs - acts that would have shocked Gandhi Ji."

Senior BJP leaders hit back. "India has a huge cultural history of tolerance. Any aberration doesn't alter the history," India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said in response to Obama's remark.

Of late, Indian Christians had been blaming Hindu extreme groups for alleged attacks on and desecrations of Catholic churches in Delhi that had happened in the last few months with hardly actions against the offenders by the government. Now, the question arises that can these incidents of religious intolerance be wished away as aberrations.

However the White House has clarified that Obama's remark was 'meant to celebrate India's diversity' and the nation not to be allowed to 'splinter along lines of religious faith' and remain 'unified as one nation'. But, many think that the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is indicative of the fact he wants to keep his image as a Hindu nationalist leader.

Many in west feel that with Hindu extreme groups openly proclaiming their support for "Ghar Wapsi" or homecoming campaign to bring non-Hindus back to Hinduism and creation a Hindu Rashtra, while the government remaining quiet on it is causing concerns.

The recent experiences have shown that moderate leaders had more and long lasting acceptance in the world community than the hard-liners. Modi must speak out on the issue of religious tolerance to send a message to the fringe Hindu groups, many feel.

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