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.’A direct flight from London to Ahmedabad, the simplification of the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) schemes, and the easing visa procedures were measures announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the public event billed as the highlight of his three day visit. “Whatever the colour of your passport, you are as Indian as I am,” he told his cheering fans.
In a speech imbued with the trademark rhetoric of nationalism that Mr. Modi has become known for, he listed his priorities and promises for India and its role in the world. Every girl child in India can now go to school safe in the knowledge that her school has a toilet. Haryana’s adverse sex ratio is on the decline, Mr. Modi said, thanks to his “selfie with daughter campaign”, which he claimed became an international movement. He has promised to deliver in 1000 days electricity to the 18,000 villages currently deprived of it, and pledged that India would take the lead internationally in creating a solar-powered world.
Mr. Cameron who spoke before Mr. Modi welcomed the audience in Hindu and Gujarati, praised British Indians for their contributions and for “putting the Great in Great Britain.”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.(THE HINDU2015)