San Jose, Sep 28: Indian 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. (Agencies)