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My dear friend Arun has left, says emotional Modi in Bahrain

By Vishal S

Manama, Aug 24: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday addressed Indian community in Bahrain. After speaking about the changes in India in recent years for sometime, Modi said he was in immense pain due to the demise of his 'friend' Arun Jaitley.

"I knew him from his student days. He was with me during ups and downs, our friendship...I am hiding pain inside. My dear Arun has gone," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

"Earlier in August, sister Sushma Swaraj left, and now Arun has left the world," said PM Modi as his voice seemed to tremble.

[Arun Jaitley: [Arun Jaitley: "Every non-BJP person's favourite BJP-ite"]

"I cannot imagine that I am here in Bahrain while my dear friend Arun Jaitley is no more. Some days ago, we lost our former Foreign Minister Behen Sushma Ji. Today my dear friend Arun went away," Prime Minister Modi said, while addressing the Indian community at the National Stadium in Manama.

Modi became emotional while recalling his decades-old friendship with Jaitley.

"At a time at a time when people are celebrating Janmashtami, I am mourning the death of my friend Arun," Modi said, amid silence in the audience. The prime minister said he was bound by his duty on one side and on one side his heart was full of emotions.

Before concluding his speech, Modi lauded Indians settled abroad for making the country proud by contributing to the nation in which they have settled.

"I realise that it took quite a long time for an Indian Prime Minister to visit Bahrain. However, I have been fortunate enough to be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Bahrain," he said.

"It is the sacred festival of Janmashtmi today. I wish you and the entire Indian community across the world on 'Krishna Janmotsav'" he added.

"When you talk to your family members in India, they tell you they feel a change in the environment. Do you feel a change in India? Do you see a change in the attitude of India? Confidence of India has increased or not?" he asked.

"All of you know that on September 7, India's 'Chandrayaan' is going to land on the surface of moon.

The entire world is discussing India's space missions today. The world is astonished that how are we able to gain these results in such small budget, using only our skills," he added.

[BJP veteran Arun Jaitley dies; Cremation at Nigambodh Ghat tomorrow][BJP veteran Arun Jaitley dies; Cremation at Nigambodh Ghat tomorrow]

Earlier today, Prime Minister Modi held talks with his Bahrain counterpart Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa during which they discussed bilateral and regional issues. Before the talks, Modi was extended a ceremonial welcome at Al Gudaibiya Palace here. Modi, the first Indian prime minister to visit Bahrain, was received by Prince Khalifa at the airport.

Modi, who is on the third leg of his three-nation tour to France, UAE and Bahrain, will also hold talks with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. On Sunday, he will witness the formal beginning of the re-development of the temple of Shreenathji -- the oldest in the Gulf region.

The prime minister arrived here from the UAE where he held talks with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and discussed measures to improve trade and cultural ties between the two countries.

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