Narendra Modi in France
Calling the diaspora India's ambassadors, he said they should make it a mission to boost tourism in India.

Diversity is Indian democracy's biggest strength, says PM Modi in France

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday (July 13) described India as a “model of diversity” in his addresses to the Indian diaspora in France.

In his nearly an hour-long speech to the enthusiastic crowd at the La Seine Musicale – a performing arts centre on an island in the river Seine – Modi outlined India’s fast-paced development and asserted that while the world is moving towards a new order, India’s strength and role are also changing very quickly.

He mentioned India’s presidency of the G20 in this context and noted how the world has been left impressed by the way the country has been hosting various events.

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Modi announced the opening of a new Indian consulate in Marseille in France and told the cheerful audience that Indian students doing masters in the European country will now get five-year-long post-study work visas.

Highlighting India’s democratic and pluralistic credentials, he said it is the mother of democracy and a model of diversity as well.

“This is our very big strength,” he said, noting that over 32,000 newspapers and 900 news channels exist in the country in over 100 languages and that Tamil is the world’s oldest language.

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This diversity is the biggest strength of Indian democracy and Indians are fulfilling their dreams on the basis of this plurality and helping the country and the world move forward, he said.

The prime minister noted that Wimbledon had recently described tennis great Roger Federer as “Thalaiva” (a Tamil word for a leader and boss), saying the world is also enjoying the diversity of Indian languages.

“Who will not be proud to know that India has become the fifth largest economy from 10 in over nine years,” Modi said, asserting that the whole world has come to believe that it will not take long for the country to become a USD 5 trillion economy.

Also read: Indian diaspora accords grand welcome to PM Modi on arrival in Paris

Noting that France is celebrating its national day, in which he is the guest of honour, Modi said he has been to the country many a time but it was special this time, as he lauded its support to India and the strength of ties between the two countries, which mark 25th anniversary of their strategic partnership.

Modi recalled that Alliance Francais, which promotes French culture, had opened its centre in Ahmedabad 40 years back and he was its first member.

“My attachment to France is quite old, and I can never forget it. Around 40 years ago, a cultural centre of France was started in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and the first member of that very centre is today talking to you, the prime minister said.

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The prime minister also sounded emotional as he paid tributes to Indian soldiers who laid down their lives on France’s soil during World War I and noted that one of the regiments involved in the battle – the Punjab Regiment – will take part in the Bastille Day parade on Friday.

He also thanked France for this.

Describing people-to-people connect as a key foundation of the India-France partnership, he also asked the diaspora members to invest in India, noting that global experts are recognising the country’s attractiveness as an investment destination and the country is taking rapid strides in development.

Today every rating agency is saying that India is a bright spot. You invest in India now. This is the opportune time. Those who invest early will reap benefits, Modi said.

India has resolved that it will not miss out on any opportunity, nor will it waste any moment go to waste, the prime minister said, asserting that it is also his resolve that every fibre of his being and every moment of his life are dedicated to the people of the country.

Calling the diaspora India’s ambassadors, he said they should make it a mission to boost tourism in India and asked them to encourage their French friends to visit the country to feel its diversity and history and traditions going back thousands of years.

India has become the first country in the world where remittance from its diaspora has crossed USD 100 billion, he said.

He noted that reverse counting for the launch of Chandranyaan has started in India while stressing on the progress the country is making in various sectors.

“India and France are tackling many challenges of the 21st century. Therefore, at this crucial time, the importance of the strategic partnership between our countries has increased even more,” he said.

While speaking on India’s strong ties with France, he said French footballer Kylian Mbappe is probably more known in India where he is a “superhit” among the youth in India.

After his address, Prime Minister Modi went to the Elysee Palace in Paris for a private dinner hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

(With agency inputs)

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