Washington, June 8: Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined the long list of foreign leaders who have spoken in the Hall of the House when he addressed the joint meeting of the US Congress. Speaker Paul Ryan added that it was for the first time he will be presiding over a joint meeting of Congress as PM Modi addresses the Congress.
PM Modi is the fifth Indian PM to have addressed a joint meeting of Congress. Last former PM Manmohan Singh had addressed the joint meeting of Congress in 2005.
PM arrived at US Capitol Complex:
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the US Capitol Complex he was welcomed by Speaker Ryan.
As per the rituals of an old democratic tradition, PM was greeted by Members of Congressional Escort Committee. Member of Congressional Escort Committee lead him into the House to deliver his address.
PM Modi begins his address:
PM began his address by paying glorious tribute to the Capitol Complex. He said, "This temple of democracy has empowered other democracies across the world".
"In granting me this opportunity, you have honoured the world's largest democracy and its 1.25 billion people."
PM then quoted President Lincoln and applauded spirit of America, dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Mr. Modi then talked about his visit to Arlington National Cemetery and he remembered those fallen soldiers in distant battlefields, both from the US and India in pursuit of similar ideals.
"India applauds the great sacrifices of the men & women from 'The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave' in service of mankind."
PM talks about India:
"There were many who doubted India when, as a newly independent nation, we reposed our faith in democracy."
"Our founders created a modern nation with freedom, democracy and equality as the essence of its soul."
"Today, India lives as one; India grows as one; India celebrates as one."
"The Constitution is our real holy book, in which freedom of faith, speech and franchise and equality of all citizens are fundamental rights."
PM recalled thinkers and doers who have influenced or been influenced by each other from Thoreau to Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Ambedkar.
"Gandhi's non-violence inspired the heroism of Martin Luther King. The genius of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was nurtured in the years he spent at the Columbia University a century ago."
PM on ties with the US:
"No wonder then, that former Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee called India and the U.S. 'natural allies'. No wonder then, that President Obama has called our ties the defining partnership of the 21st century."
Today, our relationship has overcome the hesitations of history. Comfort, candour, and convergence define our conversations... and in our exciting journey the U.S. Congress has acted as its compass.
"India will never forget the solidarity shown by U.S. Congress when terrorists from across our border attacked Mumbai in 2008."
"You helped us turn barriers into bridges of partnership. Thank you for being there when the partnership needed you the most," he said as he thanked the US for supporting India in its tough time.
"The embrace of our partnership extends to the entirety of human endeavour. The genius of Norman Borlaug brought the Green Revolution and food security to India. Our cooperation secures our cities and citizens from terrorists and protects our critical infrastructure from cyber threats."
PM's sense of humour had all floored:
"You are well-known for your bipartisanship. I have also witnessed a similar spirit in Indian Parliament, especially in Upper House."
"SIRI tells us that more than 30 million practice Yoga... But no Mr. Speaker, we have not yet claimed intellectual property right on it!"
PM on diaspora's contribution to the US:
"Connecting our two nations is also a unique and dynamic bridge of three million Indian Americans."
They are among your best CEOs; academics; scientists; economists; doctors; even spelling bee champions.
The House rises in applause as PM mentions the Diaspora, says they are the pride of India pic.twitter.com/KB2Vj86fEj— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) June 8, 2016
PM on his dreams for India:
"My dream is to economically empower all Indians by 2022, the 75th anniversary of Independence."
"I see US as an indispensible partner. Many of you believe that a stronger & prosperous India is in America's strategic interest."
"India's strong economy and growth rate of 7.6% per annum, is creating new opportunities for our mutual prosperity. A strong India-U.S. partnership can anchor peace, prosperity, and stability from Asia to Africa & from Indian Ocean to the Pacific."
"In every sector of India's march, I see U.S. as an indispensable partner. Let us work together to convert ideals into practical cooperation."
"We must cooperate to address the challenges of the 21st century."
"The effectiveness of our cooperation would increase if international institutions were to reflect the realities of today."
PM on terrorism:
"Globally, terrorism remains the biggest threat, going by different names, but with the common philosophy of hate, murder and violence."
"Although its shadow is spreading across the world, terrorism is incubated in India's neighbourhood."
"I commend the members of U.S. Congress for sending a clear message to those who preach and practice terrorism for political gains."
"Humanity must speak in one voice. Terrorism must be delegitimised."
PM on India's efforts for Climate change:
"For us in India, to live in harmony with mother earth is a part of our ancient belief."
PM talks about Yemen, Nepal and Sri Lanka:
PM spoke of actions beyond our shores, both alone and together - for disaster relief, environmental protection, and conflict resolution.
PM talks about future ties:
"The constraints of the past are behind us and foundations of the future are firmly in place. The Orchestra have sufficiently tuned their instruments, the baton has given the signal. And there is a new symphony in play."
"PM calls for transformational ideas in #IndiaUS ties to realise the full promise of this extraordinary relationship."
PM concludes by quoting Walt Whitman as he said, our relationship is primed for a momentous future!"
PM gets standing ovation:
A speech which spoke to America got PM Modi a standing ovation as his speech ended.
From a Congressional address inside to a rapturous diaspora outside, power of India on full display at Capitol Hill pic.twitter.com/u6Gs93UDMJ
— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) June 8, 2016
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) June 8, 2016