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Politicians tend to be a reflection of the forces in the society: Obama

Barack Obama

New Delhi: India should cherish and nurture its large Muslim population that thinks of itself as Indian, former US President Barack Obama said today speaking at the 15th edition of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here.

“Politicians tend to be a reflection of the forces in the society… If communities across India are saying they won’t fall prey to division, then it will strengthen the hand of politicians who feel that way,” Obama said focusing on the issue of religious polarisation in communities across India.

Counter-narrative is taking shape in Europe, US and sometimes in India where tribal impulses asserting themselves, he further added.

Obama said he had emphasised the need for religious tolerance and the right to practice one’s own faith during closed-door talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his last trip to India in 2015.

Mr Obama, who arrived here on Thursday will address a town hall here today, the Obama Foundation has said.

At the town hall, in his first visit to India after demitting office in January, he will interact with nearly 300 young leaders drawn from various parts of the country.

He is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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