Prime Minister Modi, undoubtedly, is one of the best orators in the country. But his address to the US Congress yesterday was a testimony of how far he has come & how revered he has become. Most of us, who listened to the speech, were in awe of his meticulous deliverance. Some of us even landed up counting how many times the audience clapped or gave him a standing ovation. It was a balanced mix of honour, empathy, hope, a deep sense of responsibility and a dash of tongue-in-cheek humour. A speech that was pleasantly different than those mechanical ones from his predecessors. It is always difficult to cut into such a brilliant oration and separate out the subject matter. But if I were to try regardless, here’s my list of six most important takeaways would be:
Shared Values of Democracy:
“Our nations may have been shaped by different histories, cultures, and faiths. Yet, our belief in democracy for our nations and liberty for our countrymen is common. The idea that all citizens are created equal is a central pillar of the American constitution. Our founding fathers too shared the same belief and sought individual liberty for every citizen of India.”
Deepest Sense of Responsibility:
“My to-do list is long and ambitious. But you will understand. It includes: A vibrant rural economy with robust farm sector; A roof over each head and electricity to all households; To skill millions of our youth; Build 100 smart cities; Have a broad band for a billion, and connect our villages to the digital world; And create a twenty-first century rail, road and port infrastructure. These are not just aspirations; they are goals to be reached in a finite time-frame, and, to be achieved with a light carbon foot print, with greater emphasis on renewables.”
“In every sector of India’s forward march, I see the U.S. as an indispensable partner. Many of you also believe that a stronger and prosperous India is in America’s strategic interest. Let us work together to convert shared ideals into practical cooperation. There can be no doubt that in advancing this relationship, both nations stand to gain in great measure.”
“In this world full of multiple transitions and economic opportunities; growing uncertainties and political complexities; existing threats and new challenges; our engagement can make a difference by promoting: Cooperation not dominance; Connectivity not isolation; Respect for Global Commons; Inclusive not exclusive mechanisms; and above all adherence to international rules and norms.
Fight against Global Terrorism:
“The need of the hour is for us to deepen our security cooperation. And, base it on a policy: that isolates those who harbour, support and sponsor terrorists; that does not distinguish between “good” and “bad” terrorists; and that de-links religion from terrorism. Also, for us to succeed, those who believe in humanity must come together to fight for it as one, and speak against this menace in one voice. Terrorism must be de-legitimised.”
Goals for the Future:
“So, as we embark on a new journey, and seek new goals, let us focus not just on matters routine but transformational ideas. Ideas which can focus: Not just on creating wealth but also creating value for our societies; Not just on immediate gains but also long term benefits; Not just on sharing best practices but also shaping partnerships; and not just on building a bright future for our peoples, but in being a bridge to a more united, humane and prosperous world. And, important for the success of this journey would be a need to view it with new eyes and new sensitivities.”
As India rises to reclaim her lost glory, as she progresses towards the pinnacle of her existence again, we are lucky to finally have an Indian leader to guide us through the path. His words, his actions, his achievements for the betterment of my country will resonate in the pages of history. And one day, I hope to say this to my grandchildren:
I LIVED IN THE TIME OF
NARENDRA DAMODARDAS MODI
& I WATCHED HIM SPEAK.