Today's Paper

Diversity is our pride, strength: Modi

(Clockwise) Queen Elizabeth II with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Buckingham Palace on Friday; British PM David Cameron gets a memento from Modi; and Cameron and wife Samantha at Wembley Stadium.— PHOTOS: AFP & PTI

(Clockwise) Queen Elizabeth II with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Buckingham Palace on Friday; British PM David Cameron gets a memento from Modi; and Cameron and wife Samantha at Wembley Stadium.— PHOTOS: AFP & PTI  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, facing criticism back home over the government’s failure to address growing intolerance, said here on Friday that diversity is India’s “strength and pride” and underlined the importance of peaceful co-existence.

“India is full of diversity. This diversity is our pride and it is our strength. Diversity is the speciality of India,” Mr. Modi said, adding that despite the country being home to diverse religions, over 100 languages and 1,500 dialects, Indians have shown how to live together.

The Prime Minister was addressing thousands of people, almost all of Indian origin, at a Grand Community reception in his honour at the iconic Wembley Stadium, home to rock concerts and England’s national soccer team. The event was themed ‘Two Great Nations, One Glorious Future.’

Earlier in the day Mr. Modi met with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham palace. The “quiet lunch” as officials termed it came after a day of packed engagements and several speeches on Friday.

Surprise announcement

While there were few details about the conversation between the British Queen and Mr. Modi, Buckingham palace made a surprise announcement shortly after the lunch. “Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) will visit India in the spring of 2016. The visit is being undertaken at the request of Her Majesty’s Government and will be the first time The Duke and Duchess have visited the country,” a press release said, about the visit which is likely to send ripples of excitement in Delhi.

Among the major deals announced on Friday was Vodafone’s 1.3 billion pound investment in India, which officials said proved Vodafone’s “confidence in India”, as well as a 10,000 crore rupee plan for the British National Health Service to provide services to 11 Indian hospitals.

( With PTI inputs )

Recommended for you