- "Unity in diversity is our heritage, it is our specialty": PM Modi
- "Wherever we go, we take principles of diversity and democracy," he said
- PM Modi is in the US for a week-long visit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today showcased India's "Unity in Diversity" at a huge forum in the US -- a mega public meeting in Houston that was attended not only by 50,000 Indian-Americans but a battery of US lawmakers and President Donald Trump.
"If you ask me 'Howdy, Modi' My answer is: Everything is great in India," the Prime Minister said, referring to the title of the programme, billed by the organisers as largest-ever turnout for a foreign elected leader on US soil.
He then proceeded to translate the words in various Indian languages, adding at the end, "Our American friends must be amazed by what I said... All I said was -- everything is fine."
Citing languages as an example, he then said, "Unity in diversity is our heritage, it is our specialty... It is proof of our vibrant democracy. This is our power, inspiration. Wherever we go, we take principles of diversity and democracy".
His reiteration comes days after the controversy over Union home minister Amit Shah's pitch for Hindi as a common language triggered an uproar by the opposition, especially in south India. Mr Shah later clarified that he did not ask for the imposition of Hindi over regional languages but advocated its use as the second language.
India, the Prime Minister said, was "impatient for progress". Showcasing the country's achievements over the last five years, he cited various fronts, including bank accounts for all, cooking gas for economically deprived families, rural road connectivity and rural sanitation.
"Today, they say data is the new oil. When it comes to oil, you people of Houston know it very well. I will even say data is the new gold, Industrial Revolution 4.0 is all about data. Today, if there is cheapest data available anywhere, it is India. Today, 1 GB data costs just 25-30 cents in India," he said, highlighting the government's achievements under the Digital India programme.
One of the key goals of the Prime Minister's visit is seeking investment as part of the government's efforts to revive the sluggish economy. The government has already eased the norms for foreign direct investment. Over the coming days, the Prime Minister is expected to attend several meetings with the industrial leaders in the US.
PM Modi had landed in the US for a week-long visit on Saturday. Over the coming days, he will hold bilateral meetings with President Trump and address the United Nations General Assembly.