Noose tightening around corrupt: PM Modi in France
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the big mandate for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was for building a “new India”, and asserted that corruption, nepotism, loot of people’s money, and terrorism have been reined in like never before.
Addressing the Indian community at the Unesco headquarters in Paris, Modi talked about “major decisions” such as banning the practice of triple talaq, taken by his government in its second term.
In an indirect reference to the effective scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, PM Modi said: “There is no scope for temporary in India. You would have seen that a country of 1.25 billion people, the land of Mahatma Gandhi, Gautam Buddha, Ram, Krishna, took 70 years to remove what was temporary. To remove temporary it took 70 years, I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry... Reform, perform, and transform and with permanent systems, the country is moving forward to achieve its goal.”
Modi, who was in France on the first leg of his three-nation tour, said there have been a number of constructive changes in the last five years. “India is racing ahead not because of Modi... it is because of the stamp of approval that the people of India have given in the form of their votes,” Modi said amid cheer from the crowd.
The prime minister also asserted that “in ‘new India’, corruption, nepotism, dynasty, loot of people’s money, and terrorism have been reined in like never before”. “Inspired by the mantra of clear policy and right direction, one after another several major decisions have been taken by the government,” he said.
He also hailed the Indo-French strategic relations and partnership. “We have fought fascism and extremism not only in India, but also in France,” he said.
“Friendship between India and France is based on strong ideals. The character of both nations was built on the common values of liberty, equality and fraternity,” he said. If today, France and India are closely cooperating in fighting the big dangers facing the world such as terrorism and climate change, the reason is these common ideals, he said.
“India and France have distinct characteristic that they face challenges by taking strong action,” Modi said. There was a lot of talk about dangers of climate change but action was not evident, he said, adding that it was India and France that took the decisive step of forming the International Solar Alliance.
To underline the close strategic partnership between India and France, Modi said a lot is being discussed about ‘INFRA’ which can be taken as ‘In plus Fra’ – the alliance of India and France.
“From solar infra to social infra, from technical infra to space infra, from digital infra to defence infra, the India-France alliance is moving forward strongly,” he asserted.
Later in the day, Modi began a visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). After the UAE, he will travel to Bahrain before returning to France again for the G7 Summit.
In the UAE, the prime minister will discuss with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan the entire gamut of bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest. The PM will also receive the ‘Order of Zayed’, the highest civilian decoration conferred by the UAE government.
Speaking to the Indian community in France earlier, Modi said India has embarked upon a journey of hope and aspirations, and with the collective efforts of 130 crore people, the country is moving ahead at a fast pace on the path of development. “This is the reason that people have again given us a resounding mandate. This mandate is not just to run the government, but it is for building a new India. A new India of whose enriched culture, the world is proud of. A new India with a focus on ease of doing business and also ensures ease of living,” Modi said.
“The 100-day milestone is yet to arrive. Mind you, the first 50-75 days are generally taken to plan things and get greetings and congratulatory calls, but we did not get into that,” Modi asserted.
Modi also said India will achieve most of the COP 21 climate change goals set for 2030, in the next year and a half. India will be free of tuberculosis in 2025, five years ahead of the global target of 2030, he said.
Ahead of his address, the prime minister through a video conferencing inaugurated a memorial in honour of the victims of two Air India crashes in France in the 1950s and 1960s.
In his speech, he also listed a slew of measures taken by his government for development and empowerment of the people such as opening of bank accounts and the running of the “world’s biggest health insurance scheme”.
“In the last five years, we have red carded a number of bad practices from the country,” he said while using a football analogy.
Modi also talked about his government’s achievements such as forming of the ‘jal shakti’ ministry, pension for poor farmers and traders and doing away of the “inhuman practice” of triple talaq.
He highlighted that the recently-concluded Parliament session was the most productive in the last six decades.