World must come together to challenge terrorism, says Narendra Modi

New York: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday described terrorism as the greatest danger, as he called for the world to come together to challenge its menace.

He also outlined the steps taken by him in India to make governance easier, to invite foreign investments and provide skills to the Indian youth to become the workforce of the world.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

In an address at the Council of Foreign Relations here, Modi also likened the relations between the US and India to the relationship shared by a husband and a wife with "never 100 percent comfort".

On border row with China, Modi said both countries were in dialogue to solve it even as they were taking their economic and other ties forward.

He dismissed a suggestion to have arbitration to solve the border row with China, saying both countries were well capable to resolve it through dialogue.

Modi also said his government believed in women empowerment and his cabinet includes 25 perecent women ministers and that his government was pushing a policy -- 'Educate your daughter, save your daughter' -- as part of women empowerment.

The prime minister said his government was bringing in good governance to make things speedier and more transparent, and stressed on improving the quality of lives of the neo-middle class, the people who have come out of poverty and do not wish to return.

"If I can bring change in their economic status then we can be sure they can come out of poverty, or they will become sceptical." He outlined the plans for this -- to increase the growth rate, expedite economic reforms -- and also mentioned how the growth rate has risen from 4.5 percent to 5.7 percent now on the back of the new confidence and trust that has provided new momentum.

"We want that our economy should move forward in the spheres of agriculture, manufacturing and services, and balance all three -- 30 percent from agriculture, 30 percent from manufacturing and 30 percent from services -- this is the direction in which we want to go," Modi said.

He said his "Come, Make in India" campaign was based on the motto of zero defect and zero effect on the environment. "We want to create our own place in the world."

Modi said his government was paying attention to skill development of the youth so that by 2020, when the ageing world will need a workforce, Indian youth can step in.

"India is young and can provide the workforce, we have the potential," he said, and gave the example of the Mars Orbiter having been made at a cheaper cost than a Hollywood movie.

He said his government was trying to bring a lot of changes in laws, to bring in labour reforms. He said his government would take responsible steps in the field as it did not want businesspersons to face any problems.

He also said the government has started the process of creating greater synergy with the state governments, of working as a team.

Referring to the red tape that hampered ease of business, Modi referred to the Hindu mythology which says if you have completed journey of the four revered pilgrimages you get salvation, but in India even after having sent to 32 places a file can remain stuck.

"No matter how big a lock is, it will open with a key, we are trying to move our system forward to progress," he added.

Modi said the country needs huge amounts of FDI in the railways. "We want to increase, expand and want railways should fulfill the spirit of travel. I feel trillions of dollars are there in the railways."

"If people from good countries come, we have the talent and you have the money. Together, we can bring a change," he said.

He also invited other countries to join the endeavour of cleaning the Ganga river.

Modi said the Indian philosophy drives it and sustains it for longer durations. "Ideology is limited, but philosophy is unlimited."

Comparing India and China, he said as the 21st century belonged to Asia, in one aspect India has been more fortunate than China. "India has three things that no one has together -- democracy, demographic dividend and demand."

On terrorism, Modi said it was not homegrown but being exported to India.

"We are bothered by terrorism... it has been exported to our country, it is not home grown."

On Muslims in India, Modi said "India's Muslims will fail the Al Qaeda".

Terrorism is the enemy of humanity and anyone who believes in humanity should come together to challenge the great danger of humanity, Modi said.

While stating that India has been suffering from the effects of terrorism for 40 years, Modi referred to the terror group Islamic State and recent beheadings of foreign journalists.

"We have suffered for 40 years from the effects of terrorism, it is such a deformity that we can't imagine. And when we see it on TV that a journalist's throat is being slit, and that in the 21st century such a heinous crime is being committed in front of us... and till we don't challenge it... we have to believe in humankind, we have to go together, terrorism is the enemy of humanity and anyone who believes in humanity needs to come together to combat terrorism," he said.

He said all countries needed to overcome their divisions to combat the challenge of terrorism, and for that there was only one way -- that the world should understand the danger of terrorism and those who believe in humanity should join hands.

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