Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said India is not confined to its territory but exists in every Indian all over the world.
“India is not confined to its territory. India exists in every Indian in every part of the world,” he said as he made his by-now trademark address to the Indian diaspora on the second day of his visit to Malaysia.
As over 15,000 people of Indian origin chanted “Modi, Modi” at the Malaysian International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, the Prime Minister acknowledged the large proportion of people of Tamil majority among the Indian diaspora in this southeast Asian nation by starting with the greeting, “Vanakkam”.
“Love and friendship of Malay Indians has always had a special place in my heart,” he said.
“Your love for India has not reduced. I see this in colour of your festivals, the strings on the music,” he added.
A cultural extravaganza, showcasing the best of Indian and Malaysian talent, preceded Mr. Modi’s speech.
The event was organised by Welcome Partners, comprising Indian expatriates and around 90 cultural and community organisations from across the country.
Indian cultural centre in Malaysia to be named after Netaji
Mr. Modi said the Indian Cultural Centre in Kuala Lumpur would be named after veteran freedom fighter and commander of the Indian National Army Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
The Prime Minister said his government was giving the people of India the fruits of a modern economy.
“We are eradicating poverty by giving our people the fruits of modern economy such as universal access to banks and insurance, not just tie them down to endless programmes,” he said.
“Where in the world will 190 million bank accounts be opened in a few months,” he asked.
He said his government was creating an enterprise that flourished and people have the opportunity to raise their income levels.
“We are creating infrastructure that gives people their basic needs of roof, water, sanitation, electricity, schools, and medical help within their reach and means. We are facilitating business. And, we are creating a national digital infrastructure that allows ideas, information, communication, business and innovation to flow freely on the cyber space.”
Meets Malaysian Indian Congress members
Earlier, Mr. Modi met members of the Malaysian National Congress (MIC), the largest political party of people of Indian origin in Malaysia.
“Community connect begins with a call on by Malaysian Indian Congress members led by Health Minister S. Subramaniam,” Vikas Swarup, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, tweeted along with a photograph showing the MIC delegation meeting Mr. Modi.
Mr. Subramaniam is also the president of the MIC.
MIC is one of the three major constituents of Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, the other two being the United Malays National Organisation and the Malaysian Chinese Association.
Religion should be delinked from terror: Modi
Describing terrorism as the “biggest threat” to the world, Mr. Modi said it needs to be delinked from religion as he pressed for a united global fight to ensure that no country provides sanctuary to terror, an apparent reference to Pakistan.
He underlined the need for ensuring that Internet does not become a “recruiting ground” for terrorism, amid the growing trend of ISIS luring youth from across the globe, and spoke about the world coming together to use “military force” and “international legal systems” to fight the menace.
Mr. Modi said India draws strength from its diversity and that his government is working to create an environment where enterprise flourishes and everybody gets basic needs like roof, sanitation, water, health care and education.
He said development in India is “gathering speed now” amid the global slowdown and the country is growing at 7.5 per cent with faster growth expected in the coming years.
Talking about terrorism, he said it is the “biggest threat to the world today. It knows no boundaries. It uses the name of religion to draw people to its cause but kills people of all faiths.”
He went on to add: “We have to delink religion from terror. The only distinction is between those who believe in humanity and who does not.... We also have to work within the society, specially the youth.”
Pitching for a united global fight against terrorism, the Prime Minister said it should be ensured that “no country promotes terrorism, there is no sanctuary, there is funds and there is no arms.”
Pushing for enhanced intelligence cooperation among countries, he said it has to be ensured that “Internet does not become a recruiting ground” for terrorism.
“I have said it earlier, I will say it again. The world must come together to combat the biggest challenge of our times....We can strengthen intelligence cooperation, we can use military force, we can make international legal systems for making cooperation stronger,” he said.
Mr. Modi also made some announcements like grant of $1 million to the India-students Trust Fund for financial assistance to Malay-Indian students and naming of India’s cultural centre here after Subhas Chandra Bose.
He said a bust of Mahatma Gandhi will also be installed at the Gandhi Memorial Hall in Kuala Lumpur. He added that India will work with Malaysian government for setting up of war memorial for the Indian soldiers at the site of Battle of Kampar in Perak in Malaysia.
The Prime Minister also favoured immediate recognition of of the degrees conferred by India and Malaysia and said he will discuss this issue with his counterpart Najib during the meeting tomorrow.
While mentioning about merger of OCI and PIO cards, he said minor children, who are foreign nationals, and foreign spouses can also get OCI status now. Besides, Indian-origin upto fourth generation is enough for OCI now.
Mr. Modi said the Indian government has also introduced e-visa that has made travel simpler.
“In Malaysia, we have opened nine visa collection centres. There is an eMigrate portal to make it easier and safer for workers to go to certain countries. It also alerts officials about foreign employers with cases pending against them,” he said.
Telling the diaspora about his government’s work, Mr. Modi said, “The wheels of change have begun to move. And, they are gathering speed now. And, it is showing in numbers.”
He said India is today the fastest growing major economy in the world. “I know you feel proud about it. We are running at 7.5 per cent per year, but will grow even faster in the coming years,” he said.
The Prime Minister said every major global institution has “placed its bets on India growing strongly. This is at a time when the rest of the world, including parts of this region, is experiencing a slowdown.”