UPDATED ALL NEWS OF MODI TRIP:
Obama very pleased with Modi visit
Washington, Oct 2, 2014: President Barack Obama was "very pleased" with and "enjoyed" Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit as it reflected the depth of the strong relationship between the US and India, according to the White House.
The president was "very pleased with" and "certainly values the opportunity that he had to visit personally with Prime Minister Modi", Obama's press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday when asked about the future of US-India relations after the Modi visit.
"It reflects that depth of the strong relationship between the US and India that the two leaders were able to come together and discuss a broad array of topics," Earnest told the media.
"Each of those topics represents an area of important cooperation between our two countries.
"I'm confident that as the relationship between our countries progresses, so will those areas of cooperation," Earnest added.
He also pointed to a "pretty detailed list of the agreements that were reached" between the two leaders.
The agreements were "indicative of the wide range of areas where the US and India have a strong, cooperative partnership.
"The president certainly values that aspect of the relationship between our two countries."
It was the first time the two men met in person and "I know the president enjoyed the visit with Prime Minister Modi to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial", he said, referring to Obama's spontaneous gesture in joining the memorial visit.
During the visit, "the Indian people saw some important images," Earnest said.
"They saw the president of the US and the prime minister of India sitting down, side by side in the Oval Office, discussing shared interests and priorities between our two countries.
"The people of India also saw the president travel with Modi to the Martin Luther King Junior Memorial on the National Mall.
"And I think that sends a pretty clear signal about the shared values of our two countries and our two democracies.
"It also demonstrates a shared commitment to the success of our two democracies," Earnest said.
"I think it's indicative of the kind of strong partnership that exists between the two leaders and between our two countries."
During the visit, India and the US committed to make joint and concerted efforts to dismantle terrorist safe havens, including four Pakistan-based groups Lashkar-e Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the D-Company and the Haqqanis besides Al Qaeda.
But India didn't join the US coalition against the Islamic State terrorists. Asked if the US was disappointed over that, he simply said: "We certainly value the strong security partnership we have with India.
"We do have a shared commitment to combating terrorism. Both countries, both India and the US, are dealing with threats.
"And we value the strong relationship we have so that we can cooperate to meet those threats, to confront those threats, and to mitigate the risk that they pose to our citizens both at home and around the world."
Modi visit very successful: US think tank
Washington, Oct 2, 2014: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's US visit was "very successful" on many counts as he reached out to various interest groups in the US in unprecedented ways, according to a leading US think tank.
"On many counts this was a very successful visit," Richard M. Rossow, the Wadhwani Chair in US-India Policy Studies at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) here, wrote in a commentary.
"The two sides reiterated past commitments and found new areas for cooperation," he said. "Modi reached out to various interest groups here in the US in unprecedented ways."
Though "some of the issues that have divided the two nations in recent years remain unresolved, overall, the revised agenda appears well balanced, with fewer 'joint' initiatives that are really just thinly disguised unilateral interests," he wrote.
This approach should facilitate follow-through on both sides, Rossow wrote, noting four key highlights from the visit.
These, according to him, were a new willingness to collaborate on a wider set of global issues, US support for Modi's economic goals, Modi's "interesting attempt" to engage the American public directly and Modi's new willingness to engage with business leaders directly.
"For a leader without national-level leadership experience, Modi has shown a deft hand at foreign policy," Rossow said. "He is quite pragmatic and clearly on a mission to speed up India's development.
"Holding grudges over past issues does not appear to be his style.
"He understands that the US can be a key partner in helping him meet his goals for the country - better infrastructure, more industrial development and domestic and regional security."
According to Rossow, Modi made a concerted effort to engage four distinct groups while in the US: Government, Business, Indian-American Diaspora and American Public.
With Modi momentum, US seeks enhanced energy collaboration
Washington, Oct 2, 2014: With Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi "providing a new momentum", the US has suggested four areas where India and the US can enhance collaboration in energy and sustainable development.
"We have a strong base to build on" in these areas, US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said at the 5th US-India Energy Partnership Summit here Wednesday.
He described "the enhanced strategic partnership" announced by President Barack Obama and Modi as a major development.
The four areas suggested by Moniz were: new US/India smart cities collaboration, new multi-billion dollar effort to support renewable energy, US/India partnership for climate resilience and training students and scholars in US/India exchange programme.
In the area of finding low-carbon energy solutions for India's ambitious plans, he said nuclear energy is an area where the two countries need to step up collaboration.
"Our partnership is robust, reliable, enduring and expanding," Moniz said, adding, "We can together build a clean sustainable future that President Obama and Prime Minister Modi are committed to.
The two-day Summit was organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) North America and Yale University.
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah spoke of Modi's meeting with Obama and their commitment to working jointly.
"This cooperation represents a new opportunity for business, partnerships and investment for both the US and for India."
He referred to the progress on projects in India and said: "We want to nurture innovations and share innovations in India and across the world."
TERI North America president and TERI director general R.K. Pachauri said: "For the first time there is optimism and an upbeat attitude towards renewable energy in India."
The Summit discussions had developed several ideas to help implement the goals of the "new and enhanced strategic partnership on energy security, clean energy, and climate change" announced by the leaders of the US and India, he said.
A recurring theme at the Summit was finding simpler ways to create a suitable climate for investment and private sector participation.
Bruce Andrews, US deputy secretary of commerce, said an important challenge was how to make it easier for US companies that wish to be a part of the Indian market.
"Infrastructure collaboration plan is something they are very excited about, and for this to be successful we need to look at the business climate.
"We're excited and encouraged by Prime Minister Modi's goal," he added.
Modi makes a 'hugely successful journey' to America
Washington, Oct 1, 2014: Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrapped up what he himself called a "hugely successful journey" to the US, winning over everyone, from President Barack Obama down, hardselling India to big business and wowing Indian-Americans.
If star-struck Indian-Americans, a community that numbers about three million and many of whom who played a big role in his "historic election victory", gave him an unparalleled rock star like reception, the US establishment treated him no less with Obama himself joining Modi on an unscheduled trip to the memorial of African-American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
In a joint vision statement and a joint op-ed in the Washington Post, something again unprecedented, Modi and Obama vowed to "chalein saath saath - together we go forward" with a new agenda to realise the full potential of a renewed US-India partnership for the 21st century.
Never once was mentioned the denial of a US visa to Modi for nearly a decade nor a major diplomatic row over the December arrest and strip search of an Indian diplomat that had virtually stalled India-US relationship.
A US-India joint statement issued after Tuesday's summit at the White House that lasted nearly two hours listed what some critics called a 'laundry list' of things they can do together in fields ranging from health and education to space exploration. But the real significance of the trip lay in the fact that it put the India-US partnership back on the rails. And, more importantly, Modi secured a commitment from Obama to make joint and concerted efforts to dismantle terrorist safe havens.
The statement specifically mentioned four Pakistan-based groups - Lashkar-e Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the D-Company, and the Haqqanis besides Al Qaeda - and also reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack to justice.
Shortly after the statement, the US treasury targeted two Pakistan-based terrorist organisations and froze the assets of their leaders for providing financial support to Lashkar-e -Taeba (LeT) held responsible for the Mumbai attacks.
Not unexpectedly, India and US failed to reach a breakthrough on their landmark civil nuclear deal stalled over India's tough liability laws. But, as Modi said after the summit with Obama sitting by his side "we are serious about resolution of issues on both sides to enable civilian nuclear energy cooperation to take off. It is important for India's energy security."
Reaffirming their commitment to implement fully the nuclear deal, they "established a Contact Group on advancing the implementation of civil nuclear energy cooperation."
It would discuss all implementation issues, including liability, technical issues, and licensing to facilitate the establishment of nuclear parks, including power plants with Westinghouse and GE-Hitachi technology.
The statement said Modi "emphasized the priority India accords to its partnership with the United States, a principal partner in the realization of India's rise as a responsible, influential world power."
And "given the shared values, people-to-people ties, and pluralistic traditions, President Obama recognized that India's rise as a friend and partner is in the United States" it said.
Noting that two-way trade has increased fivefold since 2001 to nearly $100 billion, the two leaders committed to facilitate the actions necessary to increase trade another fivefold.
The proposed steps include establishing an Indo-US Investment Initiative an Infrastructure Collaboration Platform.
India will welcome two trade missions in 2015 focused on meeting India's infrastructure needs with US technology and services.
Modi ended his action packed journey, throughout which he has been hardselling India to US business, with an address to the US-India Business Council comprising 310 top US companies doing business with India.
Promising to replace bureaucratic red tape with a red carpet, he invited them to come to India and make in India saying "This is a win-win situation."
Modi hard sells India to big US business
Washington, Oct 1, 2014: Hard selling India with assurances of a business-friendly environment and a stable and simpler tax regime, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited top US business to come and invest in India.
Addressing the US-India Business Council comprising 300 top US companies doing business with India here Tuesday, he promised to replace bureaucratic red tape with a red carpet.
The role of the government should be that of a facilitator, Modi said wrapping up his five day trip to the US all through which he has made a strong pitch for investment in India with a promise of extensive use of technology better infrastructure and labour reforms.
He invited US business leaders to come to India and join the Â“Make in IndiaÂ” campaign saying it's a win-win situation as India is moving ahead with great speed.
Since coming to office four months ago, Modi said his government had cleared a record number of foreign investments though admittedly it had not been possible to make a great many changes in such a short span.
Before coming to Washington Monday, Modi had breakfast meetings in New York with 11 CEOs, including those of Google, Citigroup and Pepsico.
It was followed by one-on-one meetings with six other CEOs of companies like Boeing, IBM, GE and Goldman Sachs.
There too he had made the same pitch: India is open-minded and wants change. Â“We want change, but a change that is not one sided" and he is discussing with citizens, industrialists and investors how to go about it.
USIBCÂ’s Indian-American chairman Ajay Banga, who is also the CEO of MasterCard, expressing confidence that India-US trade can grow five fold from the current $100 billion in five years said: "The best days of US-India relations are coming."
US Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue also welcomed Modi's commitment to replace "the red tape with the red carpet" and the government's commitment to labour and tax reforms.
India, US commit to hit terrorist havens
Washington, Oct 1, 2014: In a significant development, India and the US have committed to make joint and concerted efforts to dismantle terrorist safe havens, including four Pakistan-based groups Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the D-Company, and the Haqqani network, besides the Al Qaeda.
A joint statement issued Tuesday after the first bilateral summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama also reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai to justice.
Asked if this meant increased US support for bringing Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, who still roams free in Pakistan despite a $10-million US bounty for his conviction, external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said: "Akalmand ko ishaara kafi hai (the wise can interpret the signal)."
Obama and Modi also "reaffirmed their deep concern over the continued threat posed by terrorism, most recently highlighted by the dangers represented by the ISIL (now known as Islamic State or IS), and underlined the need for continued comprehensive global efforts to combat and defeat terrorism," the statement said.
Officials, however, made it clear that India was not joining the US-assembled coalition against the IS terrorists.
The leaders also "pledged to enhance criminal law enforcement, security, and military information exchanges, and strengthen cooperation on extradition and mutual legal assistance," the statement said.
Through operational cooperation by their law enforcement agencies, India and the US aimed to prevent the spread of counterfeit currency and inhibit the use of cyberspace by terrorists, criminals, and those who use the internet for unlawful purposes, and to facilitate investigation of criminal and terrorist activities, it said.
The leaders also committed to identify modalities to exchange terrorist watch lists and "President Obama pledged to help India counter the threat of improvised explosive devices with information and technology", the statement said.
Obama and Modi also committed to pursue provisions of US-made mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles to India.
New confidence, new excitement in India-US ties: Modi
Washington, Oct 1, 2014: Saying there is "new confidence, new excitement" in the India-US relationship, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday assured the US of India's commitment to take their stalled landmark civil nuclear deal forward as both sides agreed to work together to disrupt financial and tactical support for terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Modi, after holding over two-hour-long summit talks with President Barack Obama, invited US defence companies to invest in India.
"India and US are natural partners and America is an integral part of our Look East, Link West policy," he said addressing the media.
India and the US are to intensify cooperation in counter-terrorism operations and sharing intelligence and have agreed on disrupting financial and tactical support for terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammedm, D-company and the Haqqani network, officials said.
"Bilateral ties on energy, defence, security, and infrastructure were discussed during the Modi-Obama meeting," said officials.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbarudding tweeted that both sides have "agreed on joint and concerted efforts, including dismantling of safe havens for terrorist and criminal networks".
India and the US have also decided to renew the Framework Agreement for defence cooperation for a further 10 years. Both sides also agreed to have the US as the knowledge partner for India's planned National Defence University.
"We are committed to the resolution of civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries," Modi said.
"The India-US Group is to address all implementation issues to speed up deployment of US origin nuclear reactors in India," officials said.
"The infrastructure platform will facilitate US and Indian firms in expanding infrastructure projects. The US will be the lead partner in developing Allahabad, Ajmer and Vizag as smart cities," Modi said.
Both discussed Afghanistan, where there is a new government in place and both agreed to continue to help the violence-hit nation and on the need to coordinate more in that field.
On the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa, both agreed that it was a great crisis. Modi informed Obama that India has given $12 million to fight the virus outbreak.
Obama said India was emerging as a major power for peace and security in the region.
Both of them discussed the WTO issues. "India supports trade facilitation but it is my wish that our food security concerns should be taken care of," Modi said.
Referring to the Mars mission, Modi said it was a happy coincidence that the summit meeting with Obama was taking place a week after the "summit" in space between the Indian and US orbiters over Mars.
"After the Indian and US missions held a summit in space after reaching Mars, we are holding a summit meeting here. This is a happy coincidence," Modi remarked.
India's Mars Orbiter Mission last week entered the Mars orbit successfully, days after that of the NASA's Mars Curiosity rover.
Modi invited US defence companies to participate in Indian defence manufacturing sector. Both have also agreed to cooperate in exploration of space and scientific developments, especially to deal with challenges like Ebola.
Later, speaking ahead of the luncheon hosted by Vice President Joe Biden, Modi said there was "new confidence and new excitement" in the India-US relationship and that both sides needed to work to bring down the difference in their energy systems -- "120 volts (US) and 220 volts (India)" -- to bring them together.
He also said India was ready to march ahead, step by step and in tune with the US and wanted to "select those parts that take us to the welfare of the world and humankind and strengthen democracy and help small nations, and we are confident we will put our energies to this effort."
He said because of his visit to the US there is "new confidence, new excitement in the relationship, and ultimately the relationship between countries is based on the kind of confidence between the two countries and the chemistry between their leaders, which works for a long time".
"India is moving very fast", he said based on its youth power and innovation, and was "creating new hope in the world".
"India is committed and determined and want to assure the world and the US that we will fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the world," he said.
Obama joins Modi in paying homage to Martin Luther King Jr.
Washington, Oct 1, 2014: In a spontaneous gesture, President Barack Obama joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, the American civil rights leader who drew inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi.
Modi, who had started his day with a visit to the Gandhi memorial in front of the Indian embassy, was scheduled to go alone to the King memorial after his bilateral summit with Obama. But apparently, during the talks, Obama decided to join him.
Modi, who had switched to a dark Bandhgala suit for the summit, and walked to the front of the memorial, appearing to chat Obama gestured a few times and appeared to be commenting on the King statue.
Later, Modi left separately from the King Memorial for a lunch hosted at the State Department by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry and Obama returned to the White House.
As the two leaders' "joint Op-Ed today noted, when Martin Luther King Jr. sought to end discrimination and prejudice against African Americans, he was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's non-violent teachings", the White House said.
The King memorial was dedicated on Aug 28, 2011, the 48th anniversary of his groundbreaking March on Washington for jobs and freedom and his "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered from the nearby Lincoln memorial.
Designed by Lei Yixin the 9.1 metres high white granite Stone of Hope statue detached from the Mountain of Despair reflects the victory borne from disappointment
The 98 foot high Lincoln Memorial designed by Henry Bacon on the National Mall is a favourite haunt of Obama, who is an admirer of all three icons: Gandhi, King and Lincoln.
Modi, Obama vow to take ties to next level
Washington, Oct 1, 2014: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday called India and US "natural global partners" and vowed with President Barack Obama to take their ties to the next level by resolving outstanding issues like their stalled nuclear deal.
After a summit meeting with Obama in his Oval office at the White House, Modi said they had also agreed to intensify their counter-terrorism and intelligence cooperation and deepen their security dialogue and defence relations.
“We discussed existing terrorism challenges, including in South Asia, and the new threats of terrorism in West Asia and beyond,” Modi said and “agreed to intensify our counter-terrorism and intelligence cooperation.”
“Given our broad range of shared interests, we will also continue to deepen our security dialogue and defence relations,” said the Prime Minister, who had switched to a dark bandhgala suit for the summit, speaking in Hindi.
“We are serious about resolution of issues on both sides to enable civil nuclear energy cooperation to take off. It is important for India’s energy security,” he said after the summit that lasted over two hours, going over 45 minutes beyond schedule.
Modi said they spoke about many of their common economic priorities and expressed his belief that “India-US economic partnership will also grow rapidly in the coming years.
“I also sought President Obama’s support for continued openness and ease of access for Indian services companies in the US market.”
"There was great convergence in international matters," he said. On the issue of Afghanistan, “we both are committed to helping Afghanistan and improving our coordination in this area".
India and US have also decided to renew the framework agreement for defence cooperation for a further 10 years and the US will cooperate as knowledge partner for India's planned National Defence University, officials said.
Modi said they had a candid discussion on the Bali Ministerial of the WTO. “India supports trade facilitation. However, I also expect that we are able to find a solution that takes care of our concern on food security. I believe that it should be possible to do that soon,” he said.
Modi said they also “agreed to consult and cooperate closely on climate change issues, an area of strong priority for both of us”.
Before Modi spoke, Obama, wearing a navy blue suit and blue tie, welcomed Modi to the White House for the first time and said: “We have decided to deepen our existing ties with India."
“Last night, during a private dinner, we spent most of our time talking about the economy,” Obama said.
“We agreed that in both countries, one of our primary goals is to improve education and job training so that our young people can compete in the global marketplace.”
They also talked about the international situation and security issues.
“We addressed challenges in the Middle East and violent extremism, the fight against ISIL (now known as Islamic State or IS)," said Obama.
The peaceful transition of power in Afghanistan and the need to work together to ensure stability was also discussed.
The president said they had "discussed how we can continue to work together on a whole host of issues from space exploration, scientific endeavour to dealing with humanitarian crisis like Ebola in West Africa.”
Obama said he was impressed with Modi’s interest in not only addressing poverty in India and revitalising the economy there, but his determination that India help bring about peace and security in the world.
“I want to wish him luck in what I’m sure will be a challenging but always interesting tenure as prime minister in India,” he said.
The remarks ended at 1.19 p.m. with both men standing to shake hands and smile for the cameras.
Modi promises to take nuclear deal forward, extends defence pact
Washington, Sep 30, 2014: Describing India and US as natural partners, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday assured the US of India's commitment to take their stalled landmark civil nuclear deal forward and invited US defence companies to invest in India.
“India and US are natural partners and America is an integral part of our Look East, Link West policy,” he said addressing the media after a bilateral summit meeting with President Barack which lasted over two hours, going over 45 minutes beyond schedule.
India and the US have decided to renew the framework agreement for defence cooperation for a further 10 years and the US would cooperate as knowledge partner for India's planned National Defence University, officials said.
“President Obama and I talked about economic issues. Our economic relations will improve even further. India-US ties will also grow rapidly," Modi said. “I want to welcome US defence companies."
Speaking in Hindi, Modi, who had switched to a dark bandhgala suit for the summit, said: “"We are committed to the resolution of civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries."
"There was great convergence in international matters," he said. On the issue of Afghanistan, "we both are committed to helping Afghanistan and improving our coordination in this area", he said.
"We have agreed to consult and cooperate on climate change," the prime minister said.
On the issue of trade facilitation, Modi said: "We had an open discussion on the WTO issue. We support trade facilitation but a solution that takes care of our food security must be found.
"Both sides are deeply concerned about the Ebola crisis in Africa, India has made a financial commitment of $10 million,” he said.
Thanking Obama for his warm welcome, Modi said: “I am glad to have been able to meet the President in the early part of my tenure.
“After the Indo-US summit in Mars, we are now meeting here," said a smiling Modi. He also invited Obama and his family to visit India at an early date
Before Modi spoke, Obama wearing a navy blue suit and blue tie, said: “We have decided to deepen our existing ties with India.
He said they had discussed the international situation, security issues and Middle East violence and extremism. Their economic talks ranged from improved education to job training.
The remarks ended at 1.19 p.m. with both men standing to shake hands and smile for the cameras.
Modi pays homage to symbols of peace, equality, unity
Washington, Sep 30, 2014: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday paid homage to three memorials symbolising peace, equality and unity dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln.
Modi started his day with a visit to the Gandhi memorial in front of the Indian embassy in Washington before heading for his bilateral summit with President Barack Obama.
Wearing a light orange kurta and a white Nehru jacket, he paid floral tributes at the statue of Mahatama Gandhi, apostle of non-violence and father of Indian nation.
A large number of Indian-Americans chanted "Modi, Modi" as he arrived at the memorial with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh.
Cast in bronze, the eight feet and eight inches high statue designed by Gautam Pal shows Gandhi in stride, as a leader and man of action evoking memories of his 1930 protest march against salt-tax, and the many other padyatras (long marches) he undertook during the freedom struggle.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then the prime minister of India, had dedicated the Gandhi Memorial in the presence of then President Bill Clinton, Sep 16, 2000, during a state visit to the US.
Later, Modi also visited the memorials of American civil rights leader King, whose struggle for the blacks was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Lincoln, the 16th president who issued an emancipation declaration to free slaves and led a civil war to save the American union.
King's memorial was dedicated Aug 28, 2011, the 48th anniversary of his groundbreaking March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and his "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered from the nearby Lincoln Memorial.
Designed by Lei Yixin, the 30-foot-high white granite Stone of Hope statue detached from the Mountain of Despair reflects the victory snatche from disappointment.
The 98-foot high Lincoln Memorial, designed by Henry Bacon, on the National Mall is a favourite haunt of Obama, who is an admirer of all three icons: Gandhi, King and Lincoln…….IANS
Sought access for Indian companies to American markets: Modi
Washington, Sep 30, 2014: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday that he has urged US President Barack Obama to take steps that would help Indian service companies get access to the US economy.
“I told Obama to open means of access for Indian companies in US markets,” he said at a joint press interaction after their summit-level talks here.
Both sides had had an “open discussion on the WTO issue”, he said.
Modi said he had conveyed that while India supported trade facilitation, a solution needed to be found that would take care of India’s food security issues.
After India-US summit on Mars, we are meeting on earth: Modi
Washington, Sep 30, 2014: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday termed it a "happy coincidence" that his summit meeting with US President Barack Obama took place days after “India-US summit” between the two countries' orbiters over Mars.
“After the Indian and US missions held a summit in space after reaching Mars, we are holding a summit meeting here. This is a happy coincidence,” Modi remarked.
India’s Mars Orbiter Mission last week entered the Mars orbit successfully, days after that of the NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover.
Modi, in all his addresses in the US visit, has been praising the Indian Space Research Organisation's Mars mission and how the mission was cheaper than a Hollywood film.
Invited Obama and family to visit India: Modi
Washington, Sep 30, 2014: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday he has invited US President Barack Obama and his family to visit India at an early date.
Modi said this during a joint press interaction with Obama here at the end of summit level talks between the two sides.
Wonderful meeting Obama, says Modi after 'Kem Chho' greeting
Washington, Sep 30, 2014: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he had a "wonderful meeting" with US President Barack Obama at the White House and both share a vision for partnership in which both countries would work together for the benefit of the entire humankind.
In a Facebook post after his first meeting with Obama Monday night, the first time they were meeting, Modi said: "With President Barack Obama. We had a wonderful meeting and talked about a wide range of issues. Both President Obama and I share a vision for a partnership in which our nations work together for the benefit of the entire humankind."
Earlier, Modi was greeted at the doorstep of the White House by Obama with "Kem Chho" - the Gujarati equivalent of "Hello, how are you".
At the private dinner that Obama held for Modi, the two sides discussed opportunities of working together.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was also greeted by Obama and other officials, including US Secretary of State John Kerry. Both smiled and laughed at a witty remark by the Indian minister.
The information was tweeted by India's external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.
Knowing President Barack Obama's admiration for Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted him a copy of Gita by the Mahatma and some memorabilia associated with the American civil rights leader.
Modi also presented Obama with a special reprint of Gandhi's interpretation of the Gita.
The US president keeps a statue of the Indian freedom leader in his office.
Keeping Obama's great regard for Martin Luther King Jr. in mind, Modi brought an All India Radio recording of King's speech in India in 1958. There is also a framed photograph of King at Rajghat besides a small video clip from his 1959 visit to India.
These are Modi's personal gifts to Obama, Akbaruddin said.
He has also brought some official gifts that would be given at the official bilateral meeting Tuesday.
The White House released a vision statement for the US-India Strategic Partnership: "Chalein saath saath: Forward together we go".
Modi, who is on a fast for the Hindu festival of Navratri, sipped warm water at the dinner hosted in his honour by Obama ahead of their formal bilateral summit Tuesday.
First Lady Michelle Obama gave the working meal a miss as the two delegations dined on halibut, avocados and basmati rice served with Shafer Chardonnay at the Blue Room.
Here is the official menu:
Goat cheese and Baby Bell Peppers
Crisped Halibut with Ginger Carrot Sauce
Saffron Basmati rice
Farm Stand Succotash
Mango Creme Brulee
Shafer Chardonnay "Red Shouldera" 2010A
Sikh leaders share ideas with Modi on Punjab
New York, Sep 29, 2014: Sikh community leaders from the United States and Canada shared Saturday evening ideas with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on how they could work together on matters relating to Punjab.
They raised with him issues relating to consular matters, some of which were common to all overseas Indians, said Syed Akbaruddin, the External Affairs Ministry spokesman.
But he added that there were also issues specific to them when they wanted to go back to India and the leaders gave Modi a petition about the problems. Some issues related to those who had left India in the wake of 1984 riots. Others related to those who did not have their passports and wanted their eligibility to travel back reinstated even though documentary evidence is not available. Modi told them that he will have the matters looked into by the concerned authorities.
Before the meeting, Jasdip Singh, president of the South Asian Democratic Caucus, told IANS that an issue troubling Sikhs overseas is the plight of those who had sought asylum abroad in the 1980s and 1990s "because the situation was so bad in Punjab and today cannot go back" since they received asylum. He said they would ask Modi to intervene and resolve the problem.
Akbaruddin said Modi told them that he was very proud of the contributions that the Sikhs had made in India, especially to Indian security....IANS
As Modi meets Sikhs, they share their hopes, expectations
New York, Sep 28, 2014: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Sikh community leaders from the United States and Canada, hearing their views and sharing vision with them.
Before the meeting, Jasdip Singh, president of the South Asian Democratic Caucus, told IANS: "There is a big hope for change in India with this new administration."
He said he wanted to talk to Modi about the continuing trauma of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and ask him to take bold steps to heal it.
Though it is almost 30 years since the riots in which about 8,000 Sikhs were killed, the perpetrators are still free, and "justice has not been delivered," he said. "We want Modiji to take bold steps to resolve those issues."
An issue troubling Sikhs abroad is the plight of those who had sought asylum abroad in the 1980s and 1990s "because the situation was so bad in Punjab and today cannot go back" since they received asylum. He said Modi should intervene and resolve the problem.
Harbhajan Ajrawat, a former President of the Maryland State Medical Society, said: "I feel very strongly about medicine because I also represent the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin and he is supporting us to the hilt. We will be able to have trauma centers there, infectious disease (hospitals)" because of Modi's backing.
Explaining his support for Modi, Ajrawat said that after the "dynasty" ended, "freedom came to India for the first time in May 2014 when he took over. He is the representative of everybody in India.'
"He came from the lowest possible position to the highest. He is the best for everyone...financial, manufacturing. India is going to be at the forefront under his leadership."
India open minded, wants change, Modi tells top US executives
New York, Sep 29, 2014: India is open-minded and wants change, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told top executives of American companies, including Google and Citigroup, during a high-powered breakfast meeting here Monday.
"India is open-minded. We want change, Change that is not one sided. Am discussing with citizens, industrialists and investors," external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, in a tweet, quoted Modi as saying.
The breakfast meeting with 11 CEOs, including those of Google, Citigroup and Pepsico, was followed by one-on-one meetings with six other CEOs of companies like Boeing, IBM, GE and Goldman Sachs.
Modi discussed infrastructure development with the CEOs.
“Infrastructure development is a big opportunity; it creates jobs and enhances quality of life of our citizens,” Modi conveyed to the CEOs at the breakfast where business was top on the agenda.
The CEOs were presented with special gift packs of tea from the Tea Board of India with the prime minister’s signature on the boxes. The tea flavours were Darjeeling, Assam and Nilgiris.
The morning business engagement was among the most important Modi scheduled in the US.
James McNerney, chairman of Boeing, during his one-on-one meeting with Modi said that Boeing wanted to accelerate engagement with India, according to a tweet by the spokesperson. -
IBM CEO Virginia Rometty discussed software for Modi’s "Smart Cities" Digital India Initiative during her one-on-one with Modi.
Laurence D. Fink, CEO of Black Rock, American multinational investment management firm, conveyed to Modi during his one-on-one that the firm would host a global investors meet in India in early 2015, Akbaruddin tweeted.
Modi held one-on-one meetings with Jeffrey R. Immelt. chairman and CEO of General Electric; Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs; and Henry Kravis, CEO of American private equity fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. (KKR)
Modi meets Bill and Hillary Clinton
New York, Sep 29, 20145: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met former US president Bill Clinton and his wife and former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton here Monday.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was also present during the meeting. Hillary Clinton and Sushma Swaraj shared a hug, according to pictures of their meeting tweeted by the external affairs ministry.
Hillary Clinton, who was an active US secretary of state during President Barack Obama’s first stint as president, is being touted as a 2016 US presidential hopeful, though she has not revealed her cards yet.
The Clintons have just become grandparents. A baby girl was born to their daughter Chelsea Clinton, 34, and her husband Marc Mezvinsky, 36.
The baby has been christened Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky. The Clintons said in a statement they are “blessed, grateful and so happy to be the grandparents of a beautiful girl”, and tweeted the photo of them holding the child.......IANS
Will build India of your dreams, join in our effort: Modi to Indians abroad
New York, Sep 29, 2014: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi connected with thousands of rapturously cheering Indian diaspora at Madison Square Garden here Sunday, promising them he would deliver on the electoral promise of a resurgent India and urged them to join in the mass movement to work for their country of origin.
Addressing a 20,000-strong crowd at the venue - that has seen former US presidents and rock stars take to the stage but never an Indian politician - and also thousands watching the event live outside on giant screens, and millions back home and around the world on TV and internet, Modi announced relief measures for the diaspora, including lifelong visas for Persons of Indian Origin cardholders and the merger of the PIO and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) schemes with a new scheme to be announced soon.
Speaking in his chatty style in Hindi for almost an hour, and attired in cream kurta-pyjama and a light orange jacket, Modi praised the Indian diaspora for its contribution to IT, saying India was no longer considered a land of snake charmers but of software wizards.
"Our forefathers maybe would play with snakes, but we play with the mouse (computer mouse)," he said, to wild cheers.
Referring to the elections that swept him to power in May, Modi thanked the diaspora for their support and said he has not taken even a 15-minute vacation since becoming prime minister.
"Winning elections is not for sitting on a seat, it is a responsibility. And I have not taken even a 15-minute vacation since becoming PM," he said.
As the crowd chanted "Modi, Modi" throughout his speech, the prime minister said his government will not leave any stone unturned to fulfil the expectations of the people.
He said India is at an opportune cusp of circumstances, blessed with a vibrant democracy, with 65 percent of its people under the age of 35, and a market of 1.25 billion people and will scale new heights in the near future.
"These three things are present in one country, this is not there anywhere else in the world. And on the basis of this India will cross new heights - it is my belief," said Modi as the crowd chanted, clapped and cheered every time the prime minister made a good point and appealed to their patriotism.
Referring to the ageing populace across the world, he said that India is blessed with the youngest population and the largest workforce in the world.
"India can supply the workforce to the world," he said, suggesting that India should export its trained teachers and nurses across the world.
He also proposed that the diaspora should join in the efforts to rebuild the country, a "vikas jan andolan" or a mass movement for development - in helping in any way they could.
Referring to the skill development that his government has launched for the youth, he said his government has created a skill development ministry and would invite other countries to join in the effort.
He also referred to the Make in India campaign the government launched ahead of his US visit to invite investments and to manufacture in India as also the sanitation campaign to make a Clean India, a movement which he said would gladden the hearts of Indian abroad who often get turned away by India's pervasive squalor.
He asked the Indian diaspora to connect with him directly online and also asked them to join in the endeavour to clean the Ganga river.
Modi also announced visa-free arrival for US tourists in India and that Indian missions in the US would grant long term visas to US citizens, which was widely welcomed by the Indian Americans.
Ahead of the address, for which tickets were sold out days in advance, there were some performances by Gujarati and Rajasthani folk dancers and a song by noted singer Kavita Krishnamoorthy, who also rendered the Indian national anthem.
Capping two days eventful in New York, Modi travels to Washington Monday for summit talks with President Barack Obama, his top cabinet colleagues and Congressional leaders to renew and revive a bilateral dialogue and strategic partnership that seemed to have run into uncertain weather in recent times.
His address to the Indian diaspora comes a day after he enthralled a 65,000-strong youthful crowd at Central Park, unveiling to them his vision of a clean India with toilets for all, and ending with the iconic words "May the force be with you" from the evergreen hit Star Wars films........IANS/NRIpress
Modi announces lifelong visas for Indian diaspora
New York, Sep 29, 2014: Amid cheers from thousands of Indian-Americans, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday announced several measures to ease travel to their motherland including life-long visas.
"Happy?" he asked as the crowd cheered his announcement with chants of "Modi, Modi" at the huge Madison Square Garden community reception for him.
"There is even more to come," he said smilingly as he announced that People of Indian Origin (PIOs) in staying in India for long would not have to report to police. "There is no need for them to do that anymore."
In addition the Indian missions in the US would grant long-term visas to US citizens and US tourists would get visa on arrival in India. Online visas would be introduced and Visa outsourcing services expanded to reduce current problems.
Currently PIO cards, given to those who themselves, their parents or grandparents or their spouse, were one-time Indian citizens, allow for visa-free travel to and from India. However, a PIO card is only valid for 15 years.
Also, if one's stay in India is going to exceed 180 days on any single visit, one needs to register within 30 days of the expiry of 180 days with the concerned Foreigners Regional Registration Officer/Foreigners Registration Officer or local police authorities.
On the other hand, the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card given to only those who themselves or their parents were one time citizens, has lifelong visa-free travel and does not require the holder to register with any office regardless of the length of their stay.
Eventually the PIO and OCI schemes will be combined in a new scheme and also cover spouses.
Reminding the audience that Mahatma Gandhi was an expatriate who returned to India to win freedom for India, Modi said the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas will be held in Ahmedabad next year to mark the event. ........IANS/NRIpress
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US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard calls on Modi
New York, Sep 29, 2014: Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu American in the US Congress, called on visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi here Sunday and presented him with a ginger flower garland from Hawaii.
Gabbard, a strong supporter of Modi, is a Democrat Congresswoman from Hawaii.
The 33-year-old Gabbard is the first practising Hindu American in the Congress who took her oath on the Bhagwad Gita.
She had spoken to Modi after his victory in the Indian general elections and congratulated him and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
She has also been involved in the planning of Modi's US visit and had last month met two BJP leaders -- Vijay Jolly and MP Rajyavardhan Rathore -- in that connection.
Gabbard has always maintained that it was a "great blunder" by the US government to have denied a visa to Modi in the wake of the 2002 Gujarat riots. ........IANS/NRIpress
No other Indian leader has got this kind of love: Modi
New York, Sep 28, 20114: Echoing the famous "I have a dream" words of former American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told thousands of Indian Americans that "I have a dream (about India)" and "I will make the Bharat of your dreams."
Concluding his hour-long address, Modi thanked the 20,000-strong gathering gathered at the Madison Square Garden for their love which he said had remained unstinted for almost 15 years.
“You have so much love for me, probably no other Indian leader has received this kind of love... Mein iska karz chukaoonga (I shall repay this debt), to make the the Bharat of your dreams,” Modi said, to loud chants of “Modi, Modi”.
“Together we will serve our country, for the motherland where we got birth and our learning,” he said.
He ended his speech by loudly saying Bharat Mata ki Jai” thrice, and asked the audience to raise their clenched fists in the air and repeat the invocation three times
"I Have a Dream" was a public speech delivered by Martin Luther King on Aug 28, 1963, in which he called for an end to racism in the US. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, the speech was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.
India blessed with democracy, demographic dividend, demand: Modi (Lead)
New York, Sep 28, 2014: India is at an opportune cusp of circumstances, blessed with a vibrant democracy, with 65 percent of its people under the age of 35, and a market of 1.25 billion people and will scale new heights in the near future, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a rapturously cheering Indian diaspora at Madison Square Garden.
In his address to an around 20,000-strong Indian diaspora, who had come down from all over the US and Canada, Modi said India is the youngest nation in the world and also the country with an ancient civilisation.
He said 65 percent of the people are under the age of 35 and with the IT ability of Indians “there is no need for such a country to turn back and look”.
Modi said it is “important to recognise our strengths and mobilise them to go forward fast”.
Referring to the elections, in which he led the Bharatiya Janata Party to power, Modi said the 1.25 billion people of the country had given their blessings to govern and it was akin to god’s own blessings.
He said democracy is India’s biggest strength and also its demographic dividend. The third advantage is the demand – “the entire world has its sights on India and it knows that its 1.25 billion people is a huge market”, he said.
“These three things are present in one country, this is not there anywhere in the world. And on the basis of this India will cross new heights – it is my belief,” said Modi to loud cheering and rousing chants of “Modi, Modi”.
Indians have woven magic with the mouse: Modi at Madison Square
New York, Sep 28, 2014 : India was once known as a world of snake charmers, now the magic that its people have woven "with the mouse" in the IT sphere is world-renowned, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi here Sunday.
"I was in Taiwan some years ago, someone wanted to ask a question and was hesitating. He asked if I won't feel bad, I said go ahead. He said I heard India is a land of black magic and snake charmers. I said no, our forefathers maybe would play with snakes but we play with the (computer) mouse," he said in his address to a gathering of Indian diaspora at the Madison Square Garden.
Modi wows 65,000 youth in Central Park, with message of sanitation, peace
New York, Sep 28 (IANS) Who would have thought of Narenda Modi as a rock star? But Saturday evening, the Indian Prime Minister shared the stage with top music stars like JayZ, Beyonce, Carrie Underwood, Sting and Alicia Keys and himself received rockstar treatment from a crowd of more than 65,000 at New York's landmark Central Park as he talked about down-to-earth subjects like sanitation, health and global peace.
This was a coup for him in image building: He was able to reach out directly to a liberal audience of mostly young people without the filter of a critical media and break the stereotypes made of him. In a major departure from his practice, he spoke to them in English and could connect to them on the festival's theme of fighting poverty and seeking justice, by articulating his ideas on these topics.
This was the biggest audience that an Indian leader has got in the US, adding hundreds of thousands of TV and internet viewers to the more than 65,000 at the park, the soul of New York and its enchanting green lung in a skyscraper-dotted Manhattan.
A visitor from Delhi likened that to US President Barack Obama speaking at a concert in Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi or Lodhi Garden featuring Bollywood stars.
Other leaders who too beamed their messages at the assembled youths included UN Secretrary General Ban Ki-moon, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala but they were all dwarfed by Modi's personality and the way he connected with the audience.
From the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi on Aug 15, India's Independenc Day, where he first talked about it, Modi took his message of sanitation to Central Park, hailing people gathered there who are part of Global Citizen, an internet-based global network of people fighting poverty and lack of sanitation across the world among other pressing issues.
"How are you doing in New York?" Modi, dressed in an off-white, half-sleeve kurta with a striking cobalt blue jacket - Modi has been changing his dress appropriate to evcry event and occasion - greeted the crowd in English after the comperes of the show, Global Citizen Festival, announced the arrival of a person who changed the sanitation facilities of the Indian state of Gujarat from one of the worst to one of the best.
"Namaste," he said, adding that he was greeting people who were watching the show on TVs, smartphones, tablets and laptops as well.
"I am truly delighted to be in an open front and not in a closed conference room."
This was his opportunity to reach out to America's mainstream - especially the young people and those of the liberal persuasion. He drew repeated applause from the crowd speaking about poverty eradication and the importance of sanitation to healthcare. He seemed to pause and attune his message to the crowd.
Modi said that the work today's youth were doing on problems like sanitation and poverty would have deep impact in the times to come.
"I salute you, I repeat, I salute you," he said as the crowd erupted in applause.
"I am proud of you, your family is proud of you, your friends are proud of you."
"In India, 800 million youth are joining hands to make drinking water and sanitaton available in the hands of everybody," he said.
Modi said the youths in India could see that "you are joining hands" with them.
"God bless. May the force be with you," the Indian prime minister, who is on a five-day official visit to the and delivered his maiden speech at the UN General Assembly Saturday, concluded.
Modi meets Nikki Haley
New York, Sep 28 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday met Indian American Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley.
Haley, one of the two Indian-American governors in the US, told the prime minister that she was "excited about the opportunities in India", ministry of external affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.
She was also expected to attend a speech later Sunday that Modi was giving at Madison Square Garden, an event organized by the Indian American Community Foundation.
Rajdeep Sardesai of Headlines Today heckled in New York
New York, Sep 28 (IANS) Senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai of Headlines Today news channel was heckled and roughed up, allegedly by a band of supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, outside the Madison Square Garden venue after he got a group of anti-Modi people to air their views just ahead of the prime minister’s much-awaited speech to thousands of the Indian diaspora.
After the live interaction with the anti-Modi group who were outnumbered by supporters of Modi, Sardesai was heckled by Modi supporters and roughed up and pushed.
A video of the heckling was posted online as were tweets of the event.
Countries contributing to UN peace operations should have role in decision-making: Modi
United Nations, Sep 28, 2014: Prime Minister Narendra Modi made his case for giving nations contributing troops to UN peacekeeping operations more say in decision-making at his meeting with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Saturday. Ban told him he admired his focus on improving the welfare of all Indians.
Syed Akbaruddin, spokesman for the ministry of external affairs, said Modi told Ban that “those countries that are contributing troops to United Nations should have an effective say in decision making and mandates because they put their troops’ life at stake when they fulfill mandates of the UN.”
India currently contributes 8,104 personnel to UN peacekeeping operations around the world.
“The secretary-general thanked India for its significant contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations,” the secretary-general’s spokesperson said.
“The secretary-general expressed his admiration for the prime minister’s focus on improving the socio-economic well-being of all Indian people.”
Another issue raised by Modi during the meeting was reforming the UN. Akbaruddin said Modi told Ban that he “should take the lead in trying to reform various aspects of the working of the UN” and India was ready to work with him.
Answering a reporter’s question, Akbaruddin said that while UN reform issues like expansion of the Security Council, which India is strongly pursuing, were in the domain of the entire membership of the UN, Modi had in mind those specific reforms in the working of the world body that the secretary-general himself could undertake.
Modi and Ban also discussed regional issues with the prime minister outlining his initiatives for working with South Asian neighbours and how he intended to take them forward, Akbaruddin said.
Modi suggests more reforms at UN, seeks greater role for India (Lead)
United Nations, Sep 28 –Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made his case for giving nations contributing troops to UN peacekeeping operations more say in decision-making at his meeting with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Saturday as he pitched for more reforms in the working of the 193-nation world body to make it more effective. India currently contributes over 8000 personnel to UN peacekeeping operations in conflict spots around the world.
Ban told him he admired his focus on improving the welfare of all Indians.
Syed Akbaruddin, spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said Modi told Ban that “those countries that are contributing troops to United Nations should have an effective say in decision making and mandates because they put their troops’ life at stake when they fulfill mandates of the UN.”
“The secretary-general thanked India for its significant contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations,” the secretary-general’s spokesperson said. India contributes 8,104 personnel to UN peacekeeping operations around the world, officials said.
“The secretary-general also expressed his admiration for the prime minister’s focus on improving the socio-economic well-being of all Indian people.”
Another issue raised by Modi during the meeting was reforming the UN. Akbaruddin said Modi told Ban that he “should take the lead in trying to reform various aspects of the working of the UN” and India was ready to work with him.
Answering a reporter’s question, Akbaruddin said that while UN reform issues like expansion of the Security Council, which India is strongly pursuing, were in the domain of the entire membership of the UN, Modi had in mind those specific reforms in the working of the world body that the secretary-general himself could undertake.
Modi and Ban also discussed regional issues with the prime minister outlining his initiatives for working with South Asian neighbours and how he intended to take them forward, Akbaruddin said.
Diplomacy of contrasts: After chiding Pakistan, Modi meets other neighbours
New York, Sep 28 —In a diplomacy of contrast, after gently chiding Pakistan in his UN General Assembly speech, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pursued his “neighbours first” policy at cordial meetings with leaders of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal Saturday.
External Affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin likened the three separate meetings Modi had at his hotel to an “extremely cordial, extremely warm” family meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. Briefing reporters here, Akbaruddin said the meetings focused on common issues and on cooperation ranging from yoga to development and infrastructure.
In contrast to these encounters, speaking barely an hour earlier at the UN, Modi said he was prepared for serious bilateral dialogue with Pakistan “in a peaceful atmosphere, without the shadow of terrorism” but raising issues at the General Assembly will “derail efforts to resolve the issues.” On Friday, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had raised the Kashmir issue reiterating a demand for a plebiscite and saying it was a responsibility of the international community to see it through.
Several common regional topics came up in the separate meetings Modi had with Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajpaksa and Prime Ministers Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh and Sushil Koirala of Nepal. They told Modi in their personal meetings with him at his hotel that they were looking forward to his visits to their countries, Akbaruddin said, and Modi told them his priority is “neighbours first” and that he was working on finding convenient dates to visit them.
Nepal is hosting the SAARC summit in November, when Modi would be making his second visit there as prime minister, and Koirala asked for logistical support for it. Modi assured him assistance.
While discussing common SAARC projects, the three leaders complimented India on the success of the Mars mission and said they looked forward to looked forward to the SAARC satellite project that the prime minister had announced in June. The satellite he asked Indian scientists to design a satellite to provide free services to SAARC countries, calling it India’s gift to the neighbors.
Modi’s proposal for an International Yoga Day was supported by all the three leaders and Sri Lanka formally endorsed it in writing.
This was Modi’s first meeting with Sheikh Hasina, who could not attend Modi’s swearing-in like the other leaders because she was in Japan on a prior commitment. Hasina brought up the issue of a treaty between the two countries on Teesta River and the land border agreement, which are pending. Modi told her that on the land border agreement a bill is with a select committee of parliament and members of the new Lok Sabha are being apprised of it and that he was committed to moving it forward.
On Teesta, he said waters were a crucial issue and a consensus needed to be developed while it was being worked on waters were flowing unimpeded to Bangaldesh, according to Akbaruddin.
Another topic was land connectivity between Bangladesh and India. Modi thanked Sheikh Hasina for allowing transportation of foodgrains through Bangladesh to India’s Northeastern states, the spokesman said. She told him that because of the nature of relations between the two countries, Dhaka could not have refused a humanitarian request like this. She said if the transport of foodgrains needed to be done on a regular basis, the infrastructure needs to be improved. Modi, replied that if there were any infrastructure projects needed to be developed, India would be willing to look into them.
Modi also greeted Shaikh Hasina on her upcoming birthday Sunday.
With Rajapaksa, the spokesman said, they discussed development projects that India was helping in. Akbaruddin said that the understanding was that Sampur power project has received clearance and environmental clearances are underway. India’s National Thermal Power Corporation and Ceylon Electricity Board had signed an agreement in 2011 for the 500 megawatt thermal power project costing Rs. 4,000 crore, but it has yet to take off.
Turning to the ethnic issue in Sri Lanka, which has echoes across the Palk Straits, Modi told Rajapaksa that he told Tamil National Alliance, which met him in August, that dialogue is the best way to reconcile the differences they may have with the Sri Lankan government.
On the issue of 76 Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody, Modi told Rajapaksa that it was a humanitarian issue that needs to be dealt with sensitivity, Akbaruddin said. Sri Lanka said that both sides need to work on finding a long-term solution and mentioned it also had an environmental dimension.
Suresh Koirala spoke to Modi about the power trading and power generation agreements reached during Modi’s visit to Nepal two months ago. Modi sought to fastrack the 900-megawatt hydropower project on Nepal’s Karnali River and last week Indian infrastructure giant GMR and Kathmandu signed and agreement. Nepal has approved the other one, a power sharing agreement and is in the final stages of implementation.
Sikh delegation calls on Modi
New York, Sep 28 —A 29-member Sikh delegation from the US and Canada called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday and congratulated him for the initiatives taken by his government, an official release said.
The Indian prime minister recalled the sacrifices made by the Sikh community for India and spoke about the “Make in India” initiative.
Some members of the delegation expressed concern over the spread of drug abuse among youth in Punjab.
“Modi shared their concern and said the government would study the issue carefully and attempt to work out a solution,” the government statement said.
Modi hails Global Citizens for sanitation
New York, Sep 28 , 2014; From the ramparts of the Red Fort Aug 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday took his message of sanitation to New York’s iconic Central Park, hailing people gathered there who are part of Global Citizen, a website network of people fighting lack of sanitation and poverty across the world among other pressing issues.
“How are you doing in New York?” Modi, dressed in an off-white kurta, greeted the crowd in English after the comperes of the show, Global Citizen Festival, announced the arrival of a person who changed the sanitation facilities of the Indian state of Gujarat from one of the worst to one of the best.
“Namaste,” he said, adding that he was greeting people who were watching the show on TVs, smartphones, tablets and laptops as well.
“I am truly delighted to be in an open front and not in a closed conference room.”
Modi said that the work todays’s youth were doing in problems like sanitation and poverty would have deep impact in the times to come.
“I salute you, I repeat, I salute you,” he said as the crowd erupted in applause.
“I am proud of you, your family is proud of you, your friends are proud of you.”
“In India, 800 million youth are joining hands to make drinking water and sanitaton available in the hands of everybody,” he said.
Modi said that the youth in India could see that “you are joining hands” with them.
“God bless. May the force be with you,” the Indian prime minister, who is visiting the US on a five-day trip and delivered his maiden speech at the UN General Assembly Saturday, concluded.
Modi meets New Jersey governor
New York, Sep 28 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Governor of the US state of New Jersey, Chris Christie, and held talks with him.
Christie and Modi shared their experiences of using social media as a tool of governance.
Christie told Modi: “I watch your usage of social media closely.”
After the meeting with Modi, Christie took to Twitter to thank Prime Minister Modi and posted a picture of the meeting.
“@narendramodi enjoyed meeting with you this afternoon in NYC. Thank you for the invitation,” he tweeted.
Christie is the third important visitor who called on Modi.
The prime minister had earlier on Friday met New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Director of the US National Cancer Institute, Harold Varmus.
Modi, ex-New York mayor Bloomberg discuss smart cities
New York, Sep 28 –Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday met former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and discussed the “small cities” project with him.
“Smart talk about ‘smart cities’,” tweeted Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs. “@MikeBloomberg talks to PM @narendramodi about next good ideas city governance.”
Bloomberg spoke to Modi about “next good ideas in city governance”.
Modi, Nepal PM discuss SAARC summit
New York, Sep 28 –Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday met his Nepal counterpart Sushil Koirala on the sidelines of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.
The two leaders discussed the forthcoming SAARC summit to be held in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu in November this year.
“India-Nepal Prime Ministers discuss forthcoming SAARC Summit,” Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs, tweeted.
This is the third time the two leaders have met since Modi became prime minister in May this year.
While Koirala came to New Delhi to attend Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, the Indian prime minister went on a bilateral visit to Nepal in the first week of August.
Modi chides Pakistan over Kashmir, calls for UN reforms
New York, Sep 28 –Chiding Pakistan for raking up Kashmir in the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Saturday that the UN was not the forum for resolving bilateral issues and stressed his government’s prioritising good ties with neighbours even as he pushed for reforms of the UN and touched upon issues challenging the world, including terrorism, poverty, hunger and climate change.
Modi, speaking in Hindi in his maiden address to the UN General Assembly, said: “I am prepared to engage in a serious bilateral dialogue with Pakistan in a peaceful atmosphere, without the shadow of terrorism, to promote our friendship and cooperation. However, Pakistan must also take its responsibility seriously to create an appropriate environment.”
In his 35-minute speech, Modi made a strong pitch for reform of the UN, and underlined the Indian philosophy of “vasudeva kutumbakam” or seeing the world as one family.
Referring to his government’s outreach to neighbours, he said India “desires a peaceful and stable environment for its development”.
“A nation’s destiny is linked to its neighbourhood. That is why my government has placed the highest priority on advancing friendship and cooperation with our neighbours.”
He called for greater engagement between countries. “We must reform the United Nations, including the Security Council, and make it more democratic and participative,” he said in his address to the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.
“We need a genuine dialogue and engagement between countries. I say this from the conviction of the philosophical tradition that I come from. Our efforts must begin here — in the United Nations.”
He said the UN would be a 70-year-old organisation next year and it was time to “ask ourselves whether we should wait until we are 80 or 100″, to bring changes to the world body.
“Let us fulfill our promise to reform the United Nations Security Council by 2015. Let us fulfil our pledge on a post-2015 Development Agenda so that there is new hope and belief in us around the world. Let us make 2015 also a new watershed for a sustainable world. Let it be the beginning of a new journey together.”
Modi said that terrorism had spread far and wide and that there was hardly any country that has stayed untouched by it. In a tangential reference to Pakistan, Modi said some countries still allowed terrorism to grow on their “territory or use terrorism as instruments of their policy”.
He urged the international community to put aside their differences and mount a concerted international effort to combat terrorism and extremism.
“As a symbol of this effort, I urge you to adopt the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism,” he said. “We should ensure that there will be peace, stability and order in the outer space and cyber space. We should work together to ensure that all countries observe international rules and norms,” he added.
Modi did not directly name the Islamic State terror group that controls large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria where it has declared an Islamic caliphate and which would be governed as per Islamist laws.
“We welcome efforts to combat terrorism’s resurgence in West Asia, which is affecting countries near and far. The effort should involve the support of all countries in the region,” he said, referring to the US-led airstrikes on IS targets in Iraq and Syria.
Referring to the splintering up of the world into smaller blocs instead of being interdependent, Modi said the world today “operates in various Gs with different numbers”.
“On the one side, we say that our destinies are inter-linked, on the other hand we still think in terms of zero sum game. If the other benefits, I stand to lose,” he said, reflecting on the current one up-manship thinking in the world.
In a philosophical note, he said: “It is easy to be cynical and say nothing will change but if we do that we run the risk of shirking our responsibilities and we put our collective future in danger.
“Let us bring ourselves in tune with the call of our times. First, let us work for genuine peace,” Modi said.
He also said the world must pursue a more stable and inclusive global development. He said the world should craft a “genuine international partnership” with better coordination of policy “so that our efforts become mutually supportive, not mutually damaging”.
“It also means that when we craft agreements on international trade, we accommodate each other’s concerns and interests.
“When we think of the scale of want in the world — 2.5 billion people without access to basic sanitation; 1.3 billion people without access to electricity; or 1.1 billion people without access to drinking water — we need a more comprehensive and concerted direct international action,” he said.
He also proposed that the UN should adopt an International Yoga Day.
The Indian diaspora was gathered outside the UN in large numbers, holding placards greeting Modi and chanting his name.
Modi visits 9/11 memorial symbolising resolve to fight terrorism
New York, Sep 27 —Symbolising India’s resolve to fight terrorism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday paid tributes at the 9/11 memorial where the twin towers of World Trade Centre, destroyed by Sep 11, 2001 terrorist attack, once stood.
Dressed in a half-sleeve white Modi kurta and churidars and a grey shawl thrown on his left shoulder, Modi walked to the grey granite memorial site, also known as Ground Zero, and stood solemnly before it with folded hands.
He then placed, one by one, nine yellow roses on the memorial slabs around the twin memorial pools with names of nine Indian-Americans victims etched on them among over 3,000 victims of the attack.
Besides the names of every person who died in the 9/11 terrorist attack, names of the six victims of Feb 26, 1993 World Trade Center bombing are also inscribed on the memorial.
After that Modi visited the 9/11 Museum which includes a memorial exhibition dedicated to commemorating the unique life of each victim.
Modi’s visit to the 9/11 memorial is seen as symbolic of India’s resolve to fight terrorism of which it has been a major victim.
The Indian Ambassador to US S. Jaishankar and other officials were with Modi at the 9/11 Memorial.
Occupying eight of the 16 acres at the World Trade Center, the Memorial features two enormous waterfalls and reflecting pools, each about an acre in size, set within the footprints of the original Twin Towers.
More than 400 trees surround the reflecting pools. Its design conveys a spirit of hope and renewal, and creates a contemplative space separate from the usual sights and sounds of a bustling metropolis, according to the memorial’s website.
A small clearing in the grove, known as the Memorial Glade, designates a space for gatherings and special ceremonies.
Want talks with Pakistan without shadow of terrorism: Modi
United Nations, Sep 27 –Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Saturday that he wants talks with Pakistan without the shadow of terrorism.
Hitting out at Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for raking up the Kashmir issue at the UN, Modi said that the UN was not the proper forum to solve bilateral issues. He said he was prepared to engage in serious bilateral dialogue with Pakistan in a peaceful atmosphere, “without the shadow of terrorism”, in his first address to the UN General Assembly.
He also said that this was the time to provide succour to the people of flood-ravaged Jammu and Kashmir, and India had offered help with flood relief to Pakistani Kashmir too.
Sharif had said that Kashmir was the “core” issue and pushed for plebiscite for the state in his address Friday. Modi said that his government has always given importance to good relations with neighbours and to peace and stability in the neighbourhood, including with Pakistan.
He said India wanted serious and peaceful dialogue with Pakistan, “but Pakistan also has a duty to create a peaceful and conducive atmosphere”.
Modi holds first-ever meeting with Sheikh Hasina
New York, Sep 27 –Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday met his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina in New York for the first time since taking office in May.
The meeting came on the sidelines of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Saturday.
Hasina could not attend Modi’s swearing-in ceremony May 26 as she was on a scheduled bilateral visit to Japan. Bangladesh Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury attended the function on her behalf. All the other South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) leaders attended the function.
Modi holds talks with Rajapaksa
New York, Sep 27 -Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a bilateral meeting with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa here Saturday.
The meeting came on the sidelines of the 69th Session of the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA).
This was the second meeting between the two leaders after Modi was sworn in May 26 this year.
No development without peace, security: Bangladesh PM
New York, Sep 27– Sustainable development cannot be achieved in the “absence of durable peace and security”, said Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Saturday as she underlined the importance of a “balanced, pragmatic and ambitious agenda” while the global body frames the development goals for 2016-2030.
“We cannot achieve sustainable development in the absence of durable peace and security. The volatile global security situation continues to pose significant challenge to international development,” the prime minister said while addressing the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.
“Bangladesh believes that threat to peace anywhere is a threat for the entire humanity.”
Stating that terrorism and extremism remained major impediments to global peace and development, she said: “My government maintains a zero-tolerance policy to all forms of terrorism, violent extremism, radicalisation and religion-based politics. We remain firm in our resolve not to allow any terrorist individual or entity to use our territory against any state.”
Hasina expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people. Condemning the killing of innocent Palestinians in the recent Gaza-Israel conflict, she sought a permanent solution through creation of an “independent and viable state of Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders and with Al Quds Al Sharif as its capital”.
She warned that extremism was trying to destroy the “secular fabric of our nation”.
“The anti-liberation forces continue to remain active… They resort to religious militancy and violent extremism in every opportunity.
“Under the direct patronage of the BNP-Jamaat Alliance government from 2001 to 2006, they coalesced to form terrorist outfits that perpetrated bomb and grenade attacks killing secular political leaders and activists.”
Highlighting her government’s achievements, she said: “These gruesome attacks cemented my resolve to create a strong, legal and regulatory regime for countering terrorism including adoption of the amended Anti-Terrorism Act 2013 and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2012.”
On the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the prime minister said, “Bangladesh has already met or, is on track to meet MDG-1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Poverty has been reduced from 57 percent in 1991 to below 25 percent.”
“We have reached agreements with friendly countries such as India, China and Japan to develop large-scale power plants to meet our growing demands by 2021,” she added.
The prime minister also touched upon issues like women empowerment and migrant rights, as well the global climate change challenge.
“No challenge is as complex, widespread and formidable as climate change to countries like ours. A recent Asian Development Bank report estimated the mean economic cost of climate change and adaptation for Bangladesh to be between 2 percent and 9 percent of GDP by 2100,” she said.
Modi presses for reform of UN, reflecting vasudeva kutumbakam
United Nations, Sep 27 -Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday made a strong pitch for reform of the UN and called for greater engagement between countries reflective of the Indian philosophy of the world as one family.
“We must reform the United Nations, including the Security Council, and make it more democratic and participative,” the prime minister said in his maiden speech to the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.
Modi referred to the Indian philosophy of “vasudeva kutumbakam” — the world is one family — and said the problems the world faces have to be solved together.
“We need a genuine dialogue and engagement between countries. I say this from the conviction of the philosophical tradition that I come from. Our efforts must begin here — in the United Nations”.
He said the UN would be a 70-year-old organisation and it was time to “ask ourselves whether we should wait until we are 80 or 100″ to bring changes to the world body.
“Let us fulfil our promise to reform the United Nations Security Council by 2015. Let us fulfil our pledge on a post-2015 Development Agenda so that there is new hope and belief in us around the world. Let us make 2015 also a new watershed for a sustainable world. Let it be the beginning of a new journey together.”
He said “institutions that reflect the imperatives of 20th century won’t be effective in the 21st”.
He warned that if the reforms to the UN were not institutionalised immediately, the institution “would face the risk of irrelevance”.
“We will face the risk of continuing turbulence with no one capable of addressing it.”
Modi’s all inclusive speech covered a range of issues including democracy, development, access to basic needs, eradication of poverty and terrorism.
He sought world cooperation to address the issues of immediate concern and said: “No one country or group of countries can determine the course of this world. There has to be a genuine international partnership. This is not just a moral position, but a practical reality.”
Modi speech in UN to be forward looking
United Nations/New York, Sep 27–Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in the UN General Assembly Saturday will be “forward looking” even as India has made its official rebuttal of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Kashmir comments on the floor of the UN General Assembly.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, to a question on whether Modi would rebut Sharif’s remark on a plebiscite in Kashmir, said that Modi “is going to make his statement in a forward looking manner”.
Akbaruddin said that India would use its right-to-reply and set the record straight on Sharif’s remarks.
“This will be done on the floor of UN and it would be done today (Saturday).”
India exercised its right of reply on the floor of the UNGA to rebut Pakistan’s statement.
Abhishek Singh, first secretary in the Indian mission to the UN, said in his right-to-reply: “I would like to bring to the notice of this august House that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have peacefully chosen their destiny in accordance with the universally accepted democratic principles and practices and they continue to do so. We, therefore, reject in their entirety the untenable comments of the distinguished delegate of Pakistan.”
Sharif had in his address at the UNGA said that the “core issue” of Jammu and Kashmir has to be resolved and pushed for a plebiscite in the state.
He also blamed India for the calling off of bilateral foreign secretary level talks last month.
Akbaruddin also said that there is no meeting planned between the Modi and Sharif.
He said Modi would be holding three scheduled bilaterals with Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.
Modi’s address at the UNGA is scheduled for 10.30 a.m.
Modi wades into cheering crowds, throws security in a tizzy
New York, Sep 27– Wearing a smart burgundy bandgala and dark trousers, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi plunged into a large throng of madly cheering crowd of fans here Friday evening here, throwing his security detail into a tizzy, as he arrived at his New York hotel from the airport.
Several hundred people had gathered outside the hotel to cheer Modi as he arrived in a large motorcade.
Almost impulsively responding to their welcome chants of “Modi” “Modi” and placards greeting him with different messages outside his hotel, the Indian prime minister waded into the crowd and left the security officials, both Indian and American, scurrying after him.
Stepping out of his car, Modi happily mingled and being among them is an unusual gesture by a visiting VIP in a high-security city.
Modi’s disregard for security was in contrast to New York City’s security consciousness. It has hunkered down this week as more than 140 prime ministers, presidents and royalty descended on the city for the annual UN General Assembly meeting.
Vast stretches of Manhattan around the UN building and elsewhere have been cordoned off and access severely limited.
Several federal and city security forces, some in battle gear, patrol key areas or staff checkpoints. Behind the UN building, Coast Guard boats have taken up positions on the East River, while police helicopters keep watch overhead.
Traffic is blocked off on the side streets along the New York Palace Hotel on Madison Avenue where Modi is staying. Visitors to the hotel have to pass through airport-style screening by federal agents to get inside.