New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday hailed India’s new stature as a rising global power, and said the world was actively seeking out its friendship.
In his last speech in the Central Hall of the old Parliament building Tuesday, Modi said India’s policy had graduated from the days of non-alignment, which brought the country “some benefits” in the height of the Cold War.
But today, the world’s eyes are on India, Modi said, adding the country’s policy was to be a “Vishwamitra (a friend of the world)”. “We are befriending the world and the world is seeking our friendship,” Modi told the joint session, before proceedings shifted in the afternoon to the new Parliament building.
The Prime Minister said India had emerged as a “stable supply chain” for the world, adding the country had established its prominence by “becoming the voice of the Global South in the G20”.
The Prime Minister recounted key decisions taken in the old Parliament building, including the passage of Bills against triple talaq, and Article 370.
During his speech, Modi also proposed that the old Parliament be known as the Samvidhan Sadan (Constitution House) – “in honour of the great thinkers of the Constituent Assembly who worked here,” he said.
Regaling MPs with statistics, Modi said the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha combined have passed a total of 4,000 laws till date. Significant among those by a joint session, the Prime Minister said, was the one that abolished the dowry system and another which checked terrorism.
“In this House, we took an important step to do away with Article 370 and fight separatism and terrorism. Honourable MPs and the Parliament have a huge role in this work. The Constitution made in this House was implemented in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Modi said Jammu and Kashmir had embarked on the path of peace and development with new zeal, new enthusiasm and new determination. “The people there do not want to miss any opportunity to move ahead,” he added.
Speaking on the triple talaq law, the Prime Minister said, “Muslim mothers and sisters got justice because of this Parliament. This building let us rectify our previous mistakes and we passed the law against triple talaq.”
The Prime Minister’s speech stressed on “Indian aspiration” as he urged Parliamentarians to broaden their “thinking canvas”, adding it was their responsibility and the expectation of each and every Indian.
Modi exhorted Parliamentarians to think big, telling them it was not possible to paint a big picture on a small canvas. “If we join our rich heritage with our dreams, our resolutions… our canvas of thinking will expand… and we can paint a picture of ‘Bhavya Bharat (Grand India)’ on it. We can fill the colours and offer this colourful and grand picture of ‘Maa Bharti’ to our future generations,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi also highlighted the need to create more opportunities in northeast India. “Social justice is our first condition. Without social justice, without balance, without equality we cannot achieve the desired results. But the discussion of social justice has remained very limited. We have to look at it in a comprehensive manner,” Modi said at a time when ethnic clashes continue in Manipur.
He added: “The northeast is full of prosperity. But the youth there have to travel elsewhere for employment. We have to change this situation and also strengthen social justice by making the eastern part of the country prosperous.”
Modi told legislators it was the time to take courageous decisions by keeping politics aside. “We cannot be caught up in every little thing. We have to make the right decisions, at the right time. We cannot look at everything from the prism of political gain or loss. We will have to take new decisions with courage for the country’s aspiration,” he said.
(Edited by Tikli Basu)