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India’s Modi invokes MLK, Gandhi in US Congress speech
June 9, 2016, 5:48 am

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a joint session of the US Congress in Washington on 8 June 2016 [Image: Press Information Bureau India]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a joint session of the US Congress in Washington on 8 June 2016 [Image: Press Information Bureau India]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a joint meeting of the US Congress on Wednesday.

Modi had earlier on Tuesday held talks with US President Barack Obama and addressed the US-India Business Council where he vowed to improve “ease of doing business in India”.

On Wednesday Modi became the fifth Indian leader to address the US Congress.

Here are some highlights of the speech:

“As a representative of world’s largest democracy, it is indeed a privilege to speak to the leaders of its oldest. “

“Engagement between our democracies has been visible in the manner in which our thinkers impacted one another, and shaped the course of our societies. Thoreau’s idea of civil disobedience influenced our political thoughts. Gandhi’s non-violence inspired the heroism of Martin Luther King.”

“Through the cycle of elections and transitions of Administrations the intensity of our engagements has only grown. And, in this exciting journey, the U.S. Congress has acted as its compass. You helped us turn barriers into bridges of partnership.”

“In the fall of 2008, when the Congress passed the India-U.S. Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, it changed the very colours of leaves of our relationship.”

“Our S&T collaboration continues to helps us in cracking the age-old problems in the fields of public health, education, food, and agriculture. Ties of commerce and investment are flourishing.”

“And, the flow of goods, services and capital between us generates jobs in both our societies. As in trade, so in defence. Defence purchases have moved from almost zero to ten billion dollars in less than a decade.”

“India’s strong economy, and growth rate of 7.6% per annum, is creating new opportunities for our mutual prosperity.”

“A strong India-U.S. partnership can anchor peace, prosperity and stability from Asia to Africa and from Indian Ocean to the Pacific.”

“A commitment to rebuild a peaceful, and stable and prosperous Afghanistan our shared objective.”

“The fight against terrorism has to be fought at many levels. And, the traditional tools of military, intelligence or diplomacy alone would not be able to win this fight.”

“As we deepen our partnership, there would be times when we would have differing perspectives. But, since our interests and concerns converge, the autonomy in decision making and diversity in our perspectives can only add value to our partnership.”

Modi ended his speech by quoting the American poet Walt Whitman.

The Indian Prime Minister then flew to Mexico to hold talks with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Trade between US and India has burgeoned over the last decade, however, the relationship has been fraught with friction.

Trade tensions between India and the United States intensified in March this year as New Delhi filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over steep fee increases for US non-immigrant temporary work visas.

The US has not included India in the historic Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. The TPP, encompassing nearly 40 per cent of the global economy, is the biggest trade deal signed in over two decades.

India is also miffed over the massive amount of aid, more than £30 billion, the US has over the years provided to neighbour Pakistan. India and Pakistan have fought three wars, two of them over the control of Kashmir.



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