The popularity of Shri Narendra Modi goes beyond the shores of India! From USA to Australia, from China to Europe, one will always find those who are bowled over by Chief Minister Modi’s personality and style of work. The success of the Vibrant Gujarat Summits demonstrates the international standing of Shri Narendra Modi; over a hundred countries participate in the Summit and the results are for all to see. They bring investment and economic growth to Gujarat. Shri Modi equally captivates the Gujarati diaspora due to the work that has happened in Gujarat. Little wonder that during every Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, the most anticipated speaker remains Shri Modi. He remains a widely travelled person, having visited various countries including Australia, China, Japan, Mauritius, Thailand and Uganda.
Within a month of assuming office in October 2001, Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi was a part of a delegation to Russia led by the then Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee where he signed a landmark pact with the Governor of Astrakan province.
The relationship between Gujarat and Russia continued to grow in the subsequent years as Chief Minister Modi made more official trips to Russia, even securing vital co-operation in the field of energy.
Shri Modi was among the Indian leaders who visitedIsrael as a part of a high level delegation representing India. Today Gujarat is at the threshold of developing a strong partnership with Israel especially in the fields of human resources, agriculture, water, power and security.
The association between South East Asia and India go back to centuries and continue to be strong even today. Chief Minister Shri Modi has visited South East Asia on numerous occasions ever since he took over as CM. He has visited Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand and these countries have been active participants in various international cultural events in Gujarat including the annual International Kite Flying Festival.
Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi has also opened windows of opportunities for Gujarat by fostering close economic ties with China. He has made 3 official trips to China, the last one being in November 2011. During that trip Shri Narendra Modi was welcomed by the top leadership of China in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, an honour usually reserved for Heads of State. His China visits have drawn immense investment for Gujarat including a MoU with Sichuan province and an R&D Centre with the help of Chinese company Huawei.
Shri Narendra Modi interacting with a top Chinese leader during his visit to China in 2011
The association with the Orient does not end there. Japan is a leading economic partner of Gujarat, including its constant support for the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. Japan’s help in the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor, which will transform the economic landscape of Gujarat, has also strengthened the relation between Japan and Gujarat. Along with Japan, Chief Minister Modi’s visit to South Korea too has delivered fruitful economic and cultural exchange contributing to the overall growth of Gujarat.
Shri Narendra Modi at a seminar in South Korea
Gujaratis have made significant contribution to the political economy of East Africa and it is but natural for Shri Modi to foster closer ties between Gujarat and East African nations where even today there are Gujaratis in large numbers. He has undertaken a very successful visit to Kenya and Uganda where he received a very warm welcome. The Governments of Kenya and Uganda were extremely impressed by the development of Gujarat under Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
On various occasions, Shri Modi’s international visits have brought immense happiness on the faces of many Indians. He ensured the return of the ashes of late freedom fighter Shri Shyamji Krishna Varma from Switzerland after over 50 years after he personally visited Geneva and brought the ashes back.
Getting back Shyamji Krishna Varma’s ashes from Geneva
Last year, his appeal to the Chinese authorities to speeden the trial of Indian diamond traders languishing in Chinese jails proved to be invaluable as not only was the trial hastened but also some of the traders were able to return home. Even at the world stage when he is rubbing shoulders with top world leaders, its ‘India first’ for Shri Narendra Modi.
Shri Narendra Modi is equally popular in South Asia. Late last year, the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry called on Chief Minister Modi and invited him to address the Chamber on Gujarat’s development. Shri Modi was also presented with a replica of the KCCI building whose foundation stone was laid by none other than Gandhiji back in 1934. Earlier this year Shri Ranil Wickremesinghe, former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and the leader of Sri Lanka’s United National Party invited Shri Modi to Sri Lanka to speak on the development in Gujarat.
Praise for Shri Narendr Modi’s work has come even from across the Atlantic. In September 2011 a report by the USA Congressional Research Service hailed Shri Modi as the ‘King of Governance’. They added that Gujarat under Chief Minister Modi represented the best example of effective governance and impressive development in India becoming a key driver in India’s economic growth. Shri Modi was praised for, “streamlining economic processes, removing red tape and curtailing corruption.”
In its issue dated 26th March 2012 TIME, one of the world’s leading news magazines had Shri Narendra Modi on its cover page with a story titled ‘Modi Means Business’. Other Indian public figures who have featured on TIME’s cover include Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Acharya Vinoba Bhave. TIME lauded Gujarat’s development in the last decade and termed Shri Modi as a, “firm, no-nonsense leader who will set the nation on a course of development that might finally put it on par with China.”
Shri Narendra Modi on the cover of TIME
Brookings Institution, one of USA’s leading think-tank has lauded Gujarat’s decade of development. Its Managing Director William Antholis has written that Shri Modi is a, “talented and effective political leader” who, “practices what he preaches”. He has further identified Gujarat as a state that has witnessed, “faster growth than almost any place on earth, including most of China.”
In an article titled ‘Modi puts Gujarat Growth on a Fast Track’, leading business newspaper Financial Times lauded the pace of development in Gujarat. FT describes Gujarat as “India’s most investor- friendly state with a double- digit annual growth rate”, adding that the decade of peace in Gujarat has set the tone in enabling all sections of Gujarati society, particularly the youth to dream of a more vibrant tomorrow!
On the morning of 20th May 2012, Shri Narendra Modi addressed a mammoth gathering of NRIs spread across 12 cities of USA through video conferencing as a part of their ‘Gujarat Day’ celebrations. In a comprehensive speech, Shri Modi listed out the various development measures that had taken place in Gujarat and spoke of how all three sectors of the economy were growing in Gujarat. The speech was well received by the NRIs and heard by lakhs of people across the world via satellite, television and the Internet.
Equally impressed by Gujarat’s success are the other American nations. In July 2012 Shri Modi a top-level delegation consisting of Ambassadors of 7 Latin American and Caribbean countries including Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Dominican Republic. Not only did the envoys praise the development in Gujarat but also expressed desires to explore avenues of cooperation between Gujarat and their respective nations. Shri Modi gave the idea of setting up Trade Centre, SEZ for wood, timber & marble in Gujarat.
These interactions with foreign dignitaries and words of appreciation are examples of Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s immense popularity both within and outside India. From businessmen to common people to world leaders, everyone wishes to engage with Shri Narendra Modi on the manner in which he has transformed Gujarat as the ‘Growth Engine of India’!
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