6:10 am - Wednesday November 11, 2015

America can be India’s best partner: Obama

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Nothing fills me with more hope than when I see young people speak.
To the people of this great nation, I bring you the friendship of the American people.
Thank you so much for welcoming us back to India. ‘Bahut Dhanyavad’.
It’s my great honour to be the first US president to join you for Republic Day.
In my last visit we danced with some children and celebrated the festival of lights. I apologise for not being able to schedule a dance this time.
I recognised India with the first visit of my presidency where we also danced to some ‘Bhangra’.
Martin Luther King Jr, during his protests against racial discrimination, said that his guiding light was Mahatma Gandhi. He said that India is Gandhi’s land.
Together, India and the US, we unlock new potential.
India has uplifted millions of people from poverty and created the largest middle-class in the world.
India and US are not just natural partners but I believe America can be India’s best partner.
As India pursues more trade, we want to be the first in line.
World would be safer if our two democracies stand together.
We want to help India build bullet trains and smart cities.
We appreciate India’s effort for generating more clean energy.
Our goal should be a world without nuclear weapons.
I propose a new United Nations Security Council with India as a permanent member.
With your experience in elections, you can help other countries form new government.
Together we can stand against human trafficking and eradicate modern day slavery.
As we keep working on climate change, it’s your generation that has to speak up, because it’s your children, the next generation that will be impacted.
India is defined is countless languages, cast, color and culture and orientation. In America we are black and white and Latinos. We have a diverse culture too.
Our aim should not be that a few do well, our aim should be that everyone should have a chance.
I am married to a strong, talented woman who is not afraid to speak her mind when she thinks I am wrong. With two daughters, I am surrounded by strong and beautiful women.
Indian women have also shown that they can lead.
This we know from experience that nations are more successful when their women are successful.
If nations want to succeed, they can not simply ignore the talent of almost half their people.
When we were born, people like us couldn’t vote in some parts of the country.
It is a matter of pride to live in countries where a Dalit can help write the constitution and a tea seller can become PM – our nations are strongest when we uphold the equality of all our people and that includes women.
As brothers and fathers, we have to step up because the life of every woman matters.
Our nations are stronger when we see that we are all god’s children.
We must remember Gandhi Ji’s words when he said, “I see different religions as flowers of the same garden and branches of the same majestic tree”.
Throughout the world, we have seen violence over religion.
No society is immune from the darkest impulses of men and too often religion has been used to tap into those instead of the light of God.
Every person has the right to practice any faith or none as he chooses, without the fear of prosecution.
India’s strength is its multi-diversity irrespective of caste and creed and ethnic differences.
India will succeed so long as it isn’t splintered along the lines of religion, any lines…
The peace we seek in the world begins in human hearts.
Our nations are strongest when we empower the young people.
Michelle and I don’t come from healthy backgrounds… without education we wouldn’t be here today.
‘Mr Obama Shares the story of Vishal and his family, son of a daily wage laborer in India’
The dreams of Vishal are as important as the dreams of my daughters.
I am the first American president to visit India twice, but I am sure I won’t be the last.
As Americans we believe in the promise of India, we believe in the people of India. Proud to be your partner and friend. Jai Hind.

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After U.S. President Barack Obama raised the issue of religious intolerance in India, The New York Times published a very strong editorial criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what it calls his “dangerous silence” on a series of communal events in the country.The editorial, by the NYT editorial board, lists recent attacks on churches and reports of Ghar Vapsi or conversion and marks out the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) for its proposed conversions programme in Ayodhya in March this year, saying the group “was playing with fire.” “Mr. Modi’s continued silence before such troubling intolerance increasingly gives the impression that he either cannot or does not wish to control the fringe elements of the Hindu nationalist right,” the NYT editorial surmised.Full text of the Editorial published in the New York Times on February 6, 2015:What will it take for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak out about the mounting violence against India’s religious minorities? Attacks at Christian places of worship have prompted no response from the man elected to represent and to protect all of India’s citizens. Nor has he addressed the mass conversion to Hinduism of Christians and Muslims who have been coerced or promised money. Mr. Modi’s continued silence before such troubling intolerance increasingly gives the impression that he either cannot or does not wish to control the fringe elements of the Hindu nationalist right.Recently, a number of Christian churches in India have been burned and ransacked. Last December, St. Sebastian’s Church in East Delhi was engulfed in fire. Its pastor reported a strong smell of kerosene after the blaze was put out. On Monday, St. Alphonsa’s Church in New Delhi was vandalised. Ceremonial vessels were taken, yet collection boxes full of cash were untouched. Alarmed by the attacks, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has urged the government to uphold the secular nature of India and to assure its Christians they are “protected and secure” in their own country.There is also concern about the mass conversions. Last December, about 200 Muslims were converted to Hinduism in Agra. In January, up to 100 Christians in West Bengal “reconverted” to Hinduism. Hard-line Hindu nationalist groups, like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), make no secret of their support for a “homecoming” campaign designed to “return” non-Hindus to the fold. More than 80 per cent of Indians are Hindu, but Pravin Togadia of the VHP says his organisation’s goal is a country that is 100 per cent Hindu. The only way to achieve that is to deny religious minorities their faith.The VHP is reportedly planning a mass conversion of 3,000 Muslims in Ayodhya this month. The destruction of the Babri Mosque there in 1992 by Hindu militants touched off riots between Hindus and Muslims across India that left more than 2,000 people dead. The VHP knows it is playing with fire.Mr. Modi has promised an ambitious agenda for India’s development. But, as President Obama observed in a speech in New Delhi last month: “India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith.” Mr. Modi needs to break his deafening silence on religious intolerance.

The New York Times editorial slams Modi

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