Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a speech at the US Congress on Wednesday. He spoke on issues ranging from climate change to terrorism, defence and security cooperation to trade and economic relationship. PM Modi was invited to Capitol Hill by House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan. PM Modi is the fifth Indian PM to have addressed a joint meeting of Congress. Last former PM Manmohan Singh had addressed the joint meeting of Congress in 2005.
PM Narendra Modi was expected to rock the US Congress today with his address. But little did US Senators and representatives expected that this a 45-minute speech would make them give as many as eight standing ovation to the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy. In this speech, Modi shared his experiences from his first visit to US where traveled coast to coast, covering more than 25 states of America. He spoke about the constitution of India, Yoga and acknowledged the contribution of three million Indo Americans.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in speech, “India is already assuming her responsibilities in securing the Indian Ocean region, “A strong India-US partnership can anchor peace, prosperity and stability from Asia to Africa and the Indian Ocean to the Pacific.”
In an indirect reference to China, he also touted India’s “respect for global commons and for international rules and norms.”
Modi addressed US concerns on issues like intellectual property rights with humour.
“Siri tells us that India’s ancient heritage of yoga has over 30 million practitioners in the US. It is estimated that more Americans bend for yoga than to throw a curveball,” Modi said before landing his punchline.
“And, no Mr Speaker (Paul Ryan), we have not yet claimed intellectual property rights on yoga,” Modi said drawing laughter.
In a not-so-veiled reference to Pakistan, Modi said that terrorism was “incubated in India’s neighbourhood.”
“Not just in Afghanistan, but elsewhere in South Asia, and globally, terrorism remains the biggest threat,” said Modi. “In the territory stretching from west of India’s border to Africa, it may go by different names, from Lashkar-e-Taiba, to Taliban to IS.”
Prime Minister Modi used the prestigious stage to highlights India’s concern over terrorism. Without naming Pakistan, the PM said that terrorism was a global challenge and that it was “incubated in India’s neighbourhood.”
“Globally, terrorism remains the biggest threat, going by different names, but with the common philosophy of hate, murder and violence. Although it’s shadow is spreading across the world, terrorism is incubated in India’s neighbourhood,” Modi added.
“In granting me this opportunity, you have honoured the world’s largest democracy and its 1.25 billion people,” PM Modi said beginning his 40-minute speech, adding, “As a representative of the world’s largest democracy, it is indeed a privilege to speak to the leaders of its oldest.”
The Prime Minister emphasised on the successful partnership between ‘natural allies’ India and the U.S., asserting that the importance of freedom and democracy shared by both nations was key to their respective governments. Praising the U.S. for turning barriers into bridges of partnership, he said that America had stood with India when the support was needed the most, like when terrorists attacked Mumbai in November 2008 and in other economic endeavours as well. Prime Minister Modi also said India and the United States should come closer and become stronger, and through their shared values do something for the benefit of the world.