PM Modi talks about terrorism, surgical strikes in speech to Indian Americans
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PM Modi talks about terrorism, surgical strikes in speech to Indian Americans

Addressing the Indian diaspora in Virginia as the “members of family”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised of a developed India in their lifetime.

india Updated: Jul 08, 2017 18:45 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Modi in US,Narendra Modi,Indian diaspora
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at the United States Community Reception in Washington DC on Sunday.(PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought up cross-border terrorism and the surgical strikes carried out by India across the Line of Control last year as he addressed Indian Americans on Sunday, a day before his first meeting with US president Donald Trump. The US President has made counter-terrorism a key plank of his administration.

The surgical strikes showed the world that India can exercise “self control” but, when needed, it can also show its might, Modi said to a loud cheer from the audience during a 45-minute speech in which he presented an account of his three-year-old government’s achievements, plans and vision.

India is bound by the laws of global order, the prime minister said but added that for the sake of its “sovereignty, security, common good, peace and progress, it was prepared to undertake the hardest of steps” and measures. “We have always done that and no one in the world can stop us,” Modi said while interacting with the Indian diaspora in Virginia.

The prime minister did not refer to Pakistan or any other country by name, but referred to the surgical strikes, carried out by Indian armed forces against terrorist camps inside Pakistani territory in September, 2016.

No one in the world criticised or questioned India, Modi said, except “those at the receiving end of it”, inviting a loud reaction from the audience.

Puneet Ahluwalia, a Republican operative who was in the audience, said he found Modi’s remarks on the surgical strikes a very clear enunciation of India’s position on the issues. “As any thriving democracy (India) has the right to protect their sovereignty and its people.”

Terming corruption the reason because of which “the previous governments were changed in India”, Modi said his government had emerged corruption-free in the past three years.

“Previous governments changed because of corruption. The people hated this... There has been not a single stain on our government for the past three years. And governance is being modified so that honesty becomes an in-build process... Technology is helping with that,” Modi said.

Modi also praised external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj for her ministry’s actions to help Indians “anywhere”.

“The way Sushma Swaraj has worked and helped every Indian abroad is commendable. It is now well known in India that when anyone in trouble tweets to Sushma, she promptly replies and the government takes prompt action,” Modi said.

He added that the Indian government had helped around 80,000 Indians abroad in the past three years.

Modi spoke of reforms at home, the increased use of technology in every sphere and cited “rising aspirations as an achievement.” He invited Indian Americans to bring their expertise and experience to the country that raised them.

He also urged them to keep the next generation of Indian Americans strongly aligned with the country of their origin.

First Published: Jun 26, 2017 02:27 IST