Obama should focus on complimenting India: Former USCIRF Commissioner

'It was the time to celebrate a historic visit'

72-Barack-Obama Barack Obama | AFP

Former US President Barack Obama during an interview with CNN on June 22, had said that he the current President Joe Biden should raise the issue of religious freedom in India. 

"By the way, if I had a conversation with Prime Minister Modi, who I know well, part of my argument would be that if you do not protect the rights of ethnic minorities in India, then there is a strong possibility that India, at some point, starts pulling apart. And we have seen what happens when you start getting those kinds of large internal conflicts. So that would be contrary to the interests not just of Muslim Indians but also Hindu Indians. I think it is important to be able to talk about these things honestly. Things are not going to be as clean as you like, because the world is complicated," Obama had said.

Reacting to Obama's remark, former commissioner of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Johnnie Moore said that the former president should focus on complimenting India than criticizing it.

"I think the former president (Obama) should spend his energy complimenting India, more than criticizing India. India is the most diverse country in human history. It's not a perfect country, just like the United States, it's not a perfect country, but its diversity is its strength, and we should be complimenting the largest democracy in the world every chance that we can, that we have," he said in an interview with ANI.

Created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, USCIRF is a US federal government commission which makes policy recommendations to the US government. Commissioners to the USCIRF are appointed by the leaders of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives and the president. 

"And so I think, you know, it was the time to celebrate a historic visit, you know, rather than levelling some criticism on it, you know, with your friends, particularly when it comes to democracy. With your friends, it's sometimes better to privately criticize and to publicly praised. That's good geopolitics," Moore said. Moore's comments come at the heels of India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman slamming Obama's comment. "I was surprised when Prime Minister Modi was... talking about India in front of everyone, a former US president was giving statements about Indian Muslims at that time, Sitharaman said. 

"Didn't bombings happen in six countries - Syria, Yemen, Saudi and Iraq and other Muslim countries - during his term (as US President)?" she asked.

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