San Jose, (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that the 21st century is India’s century and attributed the sudden change in India’s fortune to the commitment, strength and pledge of the 125 crore people of the country.
“For some time now, people are saying that the 21st century is India’s century,” Modi thundered in an address to a strong crowd of 18,500 Indian-Americans at the SAP Center in San Jose, which is the hub of Silicon Valley.
Asserting that he is giving every minute of his life in the service of the nation, Modi said he would live and die for the country. Modi said that in the past 16 months, world’s perception about India has changed dramatically. The world is looking at India with a new vision and aspiration.
He attributed this change to the commitment, strength and pledge of the 125 crore people of the country. Modi said he is confident of India’s success because 65 per cent of the population of the country are of less than 35 years – 800 million.
“I can tell you with confidence that this country will not remain behind,” he said during his speech, which was marked with several round of thunderous applause. Modi said India is in a strong position today.
In just 15 months, India has scaled new height, has attained economic stability. In the past six months almost all rating agency have said in one voice that India is the fastest growing economy in large countries, he said.
Prime Minister Modi said that no one ever thought that brain drain can become brain gain. “This is actually brain deposit,” he asserted, adding that it would serve its motherland at an appropriate time.
“Now it is the time that every Indian can show people their strength,” he said in his hour-long speech. Modi recollected the contribution of the Gadar party in San Francisco in India’s independence movement.
California has had a historic relationship and contribution in India’s development, he said.
“Today is September 27 here and in India it is September 28. September 28 is the birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh. I salute the martyr,” Modi said and asked the audience to chant with him Veer Bhagat Singh Amar Rahe.
“I am meeting Indian American a year after the Madison Square Garden event in New York. I am coming to California after 25 years. A lot has changed. Many new faces that I see. I can see here India’s vibrancy here,” he said.
Modi congratulated Indian-Americans for the place of pride they came created for themselves among the people of Californians.
The world has changed its impression about India because of your talent in computers. With your talent, commitment, innovations you are forcing the world to change. If they do not change their view about India, they would become irrelevant in the 21st century he said.
On his ambitious Digital India programme, Modi said his mission is JAM – Jan Dhan financial inclusion program, Aadhar unique identity card and Mobile Governance. In just 100 days, 18 crores new bank accounts were opened, which deposited Rs 32,000 crores in the bank, he said.
There is new movement in India to provide unique identification to every citizens of India. And finally mobile governance, on which work is in full swing, he said.
All these, he said, have resulted in reduction in corruption, saving hundreds and thousands of crores to the country’s exchequer.
The Prime Minister said that today the world is facing two biggest challenges of terrorism and global warming.
“This can be successfully addressed with firm commitment and co-operation with the people of the world,” he said.
He rued that even today the United Nations has no definition of terrorism. If it has taken the UN 15 years to define terrorism, how long will it take to fight terrorism, he asked.
Ridiculing the concept of good and bad terrorism, Modi said terrorism is terrorism. “There is no good terrorism and bad terrorism,” he said. “India has been suffering from terrorism for 40 years. All human forces should come together against terrorism. There is need for an unity against terrorism. Only then there can be peace in the world,” he said.
“India is a peace loving country. It is the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Gautam Buddha. It is the land of peace and ahimsa,” he said.
Modi said he would raise the issue of terrorism again at the United Nations tomorrow. He is scheduled to address a UN Peacekeeping Summit convened by US President Barack Obama.
At the top of the event, he was greeted by a number of US lawmakers. Among the Congressmen who attended the event were Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Ed Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Congressmen Ami Bera and George Holding, two co-chairs of the influential Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, were also there. Among other lawmakers include Loretta Sanchez, Eric Swalwell, Mike Honda, Tulsi Gabbard and Jim McDermott.
21st century belongs to India, says Modi as he wows Indian community
San Jose, Sep 28 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the 21st century belongs to India and the world has begun to acknowledge the fact, as he addressed an 18,000-strong cheering crowd of Indian community members at the SAP Centre here.
Modi, in an over hour-long address to a “Modi, Modi” chanting crowd, also said that terrorism and climate change are the main challenges facing the world and urged all nations to unite in facing the twin threats.
In a rock star reception like the one he had received at Madison Square Garden last year, Modi also asked the crowd for a “certificate” of his performance in the 16 months he has been in power.
He said the world now acknowledges that the 21st century belongs to India, to loud cheers.
“Sometime ago India was striving to join with the world, but today the times have changed and the world is thirsting to join with India,” he said.
He also said he will give his every moment and every particle of his body in working for India’s betterment.
Asking the crowd for a certificate of his 16 months in power, Modi asked the rapturous crowd: “Did I live up to my promises, working day and night, and the responsibility that I have undertaken…Have I lived up to that?” to loud cheers and chants of “Modi, Modi”.
Modi, who said he was visiting the West Coast after 25 years, said he was seeing a “vibrant picture” of India in the large Indian tech community that lives and works here.
Modi praised the “nimble fingers” of the Indian tech experts who “have made the world acknowledge India” with their competence, innovations.
He said he did not see the large numbers of Indians working in the US and other foreign countries as a brain drain, but as a “brain deposit”.
Modi called terrorism and global warming as world’s main challenges and asked all nations to unite to fight this scourge as there was no such thing as good or bad terrorism.
“The world has to realise that terrorism can hit anyone at anyplace, and it is the world’s responsibility to recognize it and unite against terrorism,” he said.
Hoping that in its 70th anniversary year, the United Nations would be able to define terrorism, Modi said: “We cannot safeguard humanity if we do not come to an agreement on what constitutes terrorism.”
“Terrorism is terrorism, there can be no differentiation between good and bad terror,” he said.
Modi said he has written to the countries that the UN should decide on what constitutes terrorism, and who are the outfits perpetrating terror, and which are the countries supporting terror and those who are for humanity.
Mod also said he was trying to include space technology in the work of the government, and that after his persuasion 170 government departments are using space technology for connectivity and for providing easier governance.
He also outlined his government’s JAM initiative – J for Jan Dhan financial inclusion programme, A for Aadhar unique identity card and M for Mobile governance. He said the linking of the three would help eradicate corruption in the system.
He criticized the previous governments for not having opened up the banking sector to the poor despite nationalizing the banks around 40 years ago. “I am sad to say that despite the nationalization half the people of the country had never seen the doors of a bank,” he said, adding that without financial inclusion a country cannot progress.
In a dig at the previous Congress-led governments, he said that after coming to power he directed his officials to take the banks to the poorest sections of the people. “I said that we have made merry for 40 years, now it is time to work.”
He said the Jan Dhan Yojana had resulted in Rs.32,000 crore being put in the banks by the poor and rural populace.
He said linking the Aadhar card, with its biometric identification, with the Jan Dhan account in the case of gas cylinder subsidy had helped eliminate corruption in the scheme.
“The JAM yojana will help to root out corruption,” he said.
He also touched on skill development, Beti Bacho, Beti Padhao, and the soil health card, and neem coating for urea to help farmers.
Modi announced a thrice weekly Air India flight from New Delhi to San Francisco from December 2.
Modi also paid tribute to freedom fighter Bhagat Singh on his birth anniversary and asked the crowd to join in.
Linking with the diaspora comprises an important facet of Modi’s foreign visits.