“Whether it is the perpetrators of the 9/11 (September 2001) terrorist attack (against the US) of the 26/11 (November 2008) attacks in India, where were the plotters of these attacks found?" Modi asked a gathering that had US president Trump sitting among the audience in the front row in a stinging attack on Pakistan at Houston’s NRG Stadium. The audience of 50,000 is seen as the largest gathering for any foreign leader barring the Pope.
Referring to the scrapping of the temporary provision ie article 370 of the Indian constitution on 5-6 August, Modi said that this provision was keeping Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh away from development.
Modi pointed out that the move to scrap the provision was debated in the upper and lower houses of parliament for hours and the debates involved were telecast live. He noted that the government did not have a majority in the upper house but both houses had passed the measures to abrogate article 370 with two thirds majority.
“But some people who cannot manage their own country have a problem with what we are doing," Modi said without naming Pakistan or its leaders even once.
“These people have made hatred their main policy towards India," he said adding that “they are supporters of terrorism and they are known to everyone."
The “time has come to fight decisive fight against those supporting and perpetrating terrorism," Modi said asking the gathering to give a standing ovation to Trump as he “is standing firmly against terrorism."
The significance of Modi’s message to Pakistan, given in public and with Trump in the audience, could not have been lost on the audience. When asked about the significance and import of Modi and Trump attending the Houston event together, Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar last week told reporters: “My sense is, it is not just Pakistan, I think whole world will be watching the Houston event and take lessons about what Indian Americans have achieved, what India and the United States, the state of the relationship today, so I think there are multiple messages there and obviously it is for the Pakistanis to read what they wish to into it and I would say the same applies to other people in the world as well."
In his speech, Modi also spoke of the diversity of India – in languages, religions and attire. Unity in diversity was the strength of India and “the basis of the vibrant (Indian) democracy."
Modi said Indians were now dreaming big because their basic needs – sanitation, financial inclusion, basic health care and connectivity – had all been taken care of. India was moving from pledges to execution, he said, with the full participation of its people.
India was now confronting challenges head on and not content with making incremental progress on issues any more. On the path of becoming a $ 5 trillion economy, the government he said had plans to spend $ 1.3 trillion on infrastructure.
Earlier in his speech President Trump spoke of the importance of border security which he said was vital India just as it was to the US. The US and India, he said, were working together in many areas including space and defence. “The relationship between the US and India is stronger than ever before," Trump said addressing Modi as “my friend."
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