Delayed but perfectly answered: Here’s how India countered Obama's religious intolerance jibe

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New Delhi, Feb 4: Nearly a month after US President Barack Obama's comments on ‘religious intolerance in India', the Narendra Modi government has conveyed a global meet in US that the usual notion of alienation of minorities is not valid in Indian context.

While addressing the White House summit in Washington DC last week on 'Countering Violent Extremism', Indian delegation said that the Indian government has ensured the socio-economic and political integration of different communities, including over 180 million Muslim population to the mainstream.

How India countered Obama's jibe

Addressing the summit, Chairman of Joint Intelligence Committee, RN Ravi reeled off facts and figures relating to minority welfare schemes and measures undertaken by the government.

Gandhiji could not tolerate religious intolerance in India: Obama

He said, "Going by the usual definition of minority, their population is over 260 million i.e. over 21 per cent of India's population. There are over 180 million Muslims in India.

The Indian delegation cited the success story of recently-held election in "Muslim majority" Jammu and Kashmir in which 65 per cent electorates cast their votes to highlight the strength of liberal plural secular democracy of the country.

The usual notions of minorities and their alienation are not valid in the Indian context, said the leader of the Indian team R N Ravi, at the seminar attended by representatives of 60 countries.

In the three-day summit attended by President Obama, US vice-president Joe Biden and UN secretary-general Ban-ki-Moon, the Indian delegation said that the higher population growth of minorities in India in the last six decades shows their "ease and sense of stake in a happy co-existence with the rest".

Earlier this month, US president Barack Obama invoked India's example to make a plea for religious intolerance, saying that Mahatma Gandhi would have been shocked to see the amount of religious intolerance in the country.

He also explained how religious intolerance effects not only India, but also Pakistan and Paris.

He said, "But it was also a place where, 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." "These would have deeply affected Gandhiji who was the one behind India's liberation," he further added.

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