New Delhi: At his inaugural address of the G20 Leaders' Summit on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's country placard read 'Bharat' and not 'India', refueling the debate on a potential name change.
During his address, the prime minister, among other things, announced the African Union as a permanent member in the Group of 20 top world economies.
Modi, who kicked off the two-day G20 leaders’ Summit in New Delhi, described India’s G20 presidency as a symbol of inclusiveness.
Earlier, in the government-issued invites sent to G20 leaders for the presidential banquet, Droupadi Murmu was referred to as 'President of Bharat'.
The controversy escalated when a central government booklet on the prime minister’s visit to Indonesia for the ASEAN-India Summit referred to Narendra Modi as ‘Prime Minister of Bharat’.
The Sanskrit and Hindi name for India is Bharat.
Opposition leaders have criticised the central government-led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the act. The Indian National Congress (INC) has said that the BJP government was trying to create a fissure between 'India' and 'Bharat'.
Meanwhile, BJP leaders have tried to play down the issue.
"All I want to say is that anyone who objects to the word Bharat clearly shows the mindset," Anurag Thakur, the union minister for Information & Broadcasting and Youth Affairs & Sports, recently said.
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