"We've visited multiple religious sites -- mosques, churches, synagogues -- on foreign travel. We'll do so on this trip, probably in Indonesia. So I think that the decision we made was driven by, again, the interests of time, how to best advance our common interests with India in these three days," Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication, Ben Rhodes, said.
"Unfortunately, we’re not going to be able to get to every place we advanced," he told reporters when asked about news reports that Obama cancelled his planned trip to Amritsar and the Golden Temple.
"We make the decision about the schedule based on the best way to advance our goals for the trip. And with three days, we just thought that when we really crunched it, Mumbai and Delhi, with a very packed official programme, that the schedule we arrived at for those two cities filled up our time successfully," he said.
Obama would be travelling to India from November 6 to November 9 – his longest foreign stay in a country as the US President.
"It's a big country where we'd like to do a lot of things. It’s an extraordinary country and we can never do as many events as we’d like to do. We send advance teams to far more places than we’re ever going to visit," he said.
The Advance team had travelled to Amritsar."I think the schedule that we ended up is the schedule that best advances the purposes and interests of the trip. We've got a very packed three days in Mumbai and Delhi that speak to those priorities that reach out to the Indian people as well. So we arrived at the schedule we arrived at because we thought it was the best way to have a successful trip," Rhodes said.
According to a recent survey, an increasing number of Americans - nearly one in five - incorrectly believe that Obama is a Muslim.
The view that Obama is a Muslim is more widespread among his political opponents than among his backers, the Pew Research Center had said after releasing the results of its national survey.