The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the joint session of the US Congress for over an hour on Thursday, the 22nd of June, 2023. In the session he brought up the topic of the political diaspora of the Indian American relation. He conveyed that as a fellow democracy, despite the political differences, the political class should speak in one voice. They should always look into the countries’ best interests.
Modi said there were 2500 political parties, 22 official languages, thousands of dialects and a wide range of cuisine across India “and yet we speak in one voice,”
When confronted by American journalists with questions about human rights and his suppression of minority communities in India, he said, “Democracy is one of our sacred and shared values. It has evolved over a long time and taken various forms of systems. Throughout history, however, one thing has been clear: democracy is the spirit that supports equality and dignity.” He added, “ Democracy is the idea that welcomes debate and discourse, democracy is a culture that gives wings to thoughts and expression. India has been blessed to have such values since times immemorial. In the evolution of the democratic spirit, India is the mother of democracy.”
He also mentioned how India celebrated 75 years of Independence the previous year, and stated that it was not just a celebration of the country’s democratic values but also of its diversity and constitution. He said that when he first visited the US as a Prime Minister, India was the 10th largest economy in the world but today it’s the fifth. He also said that soon it would be the third largest economy in the world. 40 million homes have been provided to over 150 million people which is six times the population of Australia. India also ensures free medical treatment for about 500 million people, close to the population of North America.
Prime minister Modi further called upon India and the US to work together in space, agriculture, artificial intelligence, energy, education, healthcare and other humanitarian efforts, thus allowing a mutualistic growth of the two nations.
He said, “When American companies grow, their research and development centers in India thrive. When Indians fly more, a single order of aircrafts creates more than a million jobs in 44 states in America,”
Modi also addressed concerns regarding the Ukraine war, terrorism, women empowerment and environmental issues. He said that with the war in Ukraine the Global South has been adversely affected. Recollecting his words to the Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said, “I have said directly and publicly, this is not an era of war,” He continued, “but it is one of dialogue and diplomacy and we all must do what we can to stop the bloodshed and human suffering.”
Taking a jibe at China he said there were impacts of the “dark clouds of coercion and confrontation” casting their shadow on the Indo Pacific. He said that its stability has become one of the prior concerns of its relationship.
Lastly, he concluded by stating that though both India and the US hold different cultural values and histories, his visit marks a “great positive transformation” and together they will uphold and demonstrate democracy.
Modi’s speech this year lasted longer than the last time which was 45 minutes long. His words were met by applause and received standing ovation from several U.S. officials including Vice President Kamala Harris.
Image source: The Tribune India
Edited by: Nandini Roy
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