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Freedom of expression and religion important for US

world Updated: Aug 16, 2009 01:18 IST

The Obama Administration has said freedom of expression and religion is important for the US, but refrained from making any comment on the American body putting India on "watch list" for religious intolerance.

"You know, freedom of expression and religious freedom we think are hallmarks of stable, progressive societies in the 21st century. It is obviously important to us," Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs PJ Crowley said at the daily State Department press briefing.

Early this week, the US Commission for International Religious Freedom, an independent US body, put India under "watch list" for religious intolerance. India, a thriving secular democracy, has termed it as regrettable.

When asked what impression Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had during her visit to India last month, Crowley said: "I can't say to what degree it came up during the Secretary's conversations last month, but clearly this is an area which we think it obviously is across the globe a source of potential stability."

The Obama Administration believes that those societies that practice significant tolerance will be those that advance most significantly in the coming years.