The Prime Minister on Monday made a short but an effective speech at CFR and praised the US think tank for its contribution towards strengthening the Indo-US ties for over two decades. The PM also spoke at length on swathe of issues including strengthening Indo-US relation, India's concern over WTO deal, terrorism, withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and Indo-China relations.
Addressing the gathering in New York before proceeding to Washington on the second and final leg of his five-day visit to the US, PM Modi said, "The best thing about CFR is that it has maintained its credibility and does not impose its views/ideas on others. The organisation patiently listens to every side and puts its suggestions across various organisation after drawing conclusion in an unbiased manner. And leaves it to the organisations and countries to understand (the data provided) in their own context."
Modi has clearly stated that US must address India's concerns and both will have to travel to middle grounds to resolve all stumbling blocks in their relationship.
What is CFR?
Council for Foreign Relations is an US non profit, non partisan membership organisation, publisher, and think tank which specialises in US foreign policy and international affairs. It is considered "most influential foreign-policy think tank" of US.
It convenes meetings on a regular basis in which government officials, global business leaders and prominent members of the intelligence/foreign-policy community discuss major international issues.
Now lets talk about what all the PM said and what it means
On Indo-US ties
In his address the PM ensured that the prime focus of India-US relations stays on economy and bilateral trade, which could be vital for global economy. The fundamental belief in democracy which the two nations shared could go a long way in making each other natural allies, hoped the Prime Minister.
"One doesn't have to be comfortable with everything. Even between a husband and wife 100 per cent comfort is not possible but despite that there is long-term commitment," he said.
The Prime Minister said, India and the United States had a partnership based on shared values of democracy and openness.
PM did not leave the opportunity of once again inviting the companies to come invest in India as it will mutually benefit both the economies.
Achievements of his new government
The PM was quite pragmatic about India's rising growth rate from 4.5 per cent to 5.7 per cent in the short span of just four months and that has strengthened people's faith in his government.
For almost two generations, people's aspirations were getting crushed due to the inefficiency of the Government, but now, their hopes have found wings. I know that fulfilling aspirations at such a fast pace is a challenge, but the Government has the responsibility of fulfilling our people's aspirations.
Modi also said his government was voted for good governance and development and his government was working to reduce red-tape and facilitate investment.
Modi clearly mentioned that India is not opposed to the trade facilitation agreement deal but reiterated that his government can not compromise on its peoples' interests. India is concerned about food subsidy and stockpile of food grains and wants it to be addressed first before signing the TFA. TFA is largely seen as an effort by developed countries to access vast markets of new growing economy of the developing country.
India is raising its concerns by saying that while US is providing 120 billion as agriculture subsidy then why India can't give even one tenth (USD 12 billion) to their farmers. India which is home to about 25 percent of the world's hungry, has said that it is a Government's responsibility to ensure availability of enough food to its people first, then cater to the world.
"India is not against a trade facilitation agreement, the welfare of the large number of poor people in India must be taken into account, and therefore, agreements on trade facilitation and food security must be secured together," said Modi.
Relation with China
The Prime Minister asserted that India and China are capable enough to resolve their boundary issues and there was no need for arbitration in the matter. Modi's statement also sent a hidden message to Pakistan, which once again raised the issue of Kashmir at UNGA, that Kashmir is India's internal matter and his government will not discuss it on a global platform.
Terrorism and its geo-political impact
The Prime Minister said terrorism is an enemy of humanity and therefore all humanitarian forces across the world must unite to fight terrorism. Modi asserted that all terrorism in India was "exported" terrorism, and not homegrown. He said as far as India was concerned, its symbols were Buddha and Gandhi.
The PM also suggested US to learn from its mistakes in Iraq and not repeat the same in Afghanistan. Moreover, it will also prove a fatal endeavor for India. He said the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan should be gradual because withdrawal of troops immediately will make Afghanistan a playground of terrorists. Peace and tranquility in Afghanistan is not only important for its own people but also for India, who is an old friend and strategic partner of Kabul.