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"I am happy to note that the BJP as an organization is looking to creatively harness Power of Social Media"
"Social media is a medium of equals. No single individual or organization can control it or manipulate it."
"Our conduct at home, schools, offices based on mutual respect & dignity. Same should be conduct on Social Media"
"There is sentiment, aspiration to do something & make a difference, expressed on SocialMedia. We have to appreciate that emotion"

New Delhi, July 28 (ANI): In an exclusive interview with Asian News International (ANI), Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has revealed the importance of social media in creating awareness among voters in the country.

Question: Modi-ji there has been a lot of buzz in recent days on the use of Social Media by you as well as by the BJP as an organization. What role do you see Social Media playing in this campaign?

If one would recall, during one of my recent speeches I had observed that this is the Age of Knowledge and Information. No single individual or organization enjoys a monopoly on possession and dissemination of knowledge and information. It is imperative to listen and learn as much as pronounce, in this Digital age. Thus it becomes requisite for every Indian Leader to be able to have a two-way communication with the people, especially our Youth.  Social Media to me is the most powerful channel for accomplishing this. I was recently in Pune to meet with the students of Fergusson College. I was pleasantly surprised over the seriousness with which Youth responded to my request through Social Media for ideas and suggestions for that speech. I am happy to note that the BJP as an organization is looking to creatively harness Social Media to crowd source ideas on how we can change and transform India for the better. 

Question:. Modi-ji could you share instances where you have been able to experience the power of Social Media the most?

It is important for us to expand our definition of what constitutes Social Media. To me it is not just about Twitter and Facebook. For instance, I am amazed at how YouTube as a medium of video sharing has made e-Learning accessible to so many people. Or when I look at an application like WhatsApp and how simple it is to use, one begins to appreciate the power of this medium. Often the first reports when a disaster strikes or an unfortunate incident happens, are received via one of these Social Media channels. I see the real power of Social Media come through, during such moments of crisis. Recently during the Uttarakhand disaster I was pleasantly surprised at the positive role played by Social Media in bringing home news of the missing to their loved ones. 

Question: Modi-ji many of your critics allege that you have a massive PR machinery that manages your Social Media presence to carry out your propaganda. What would you say to them? 

My humble request to everybody is to not insult and insinuate the common man, the youth of India, who have found a medium through which they are able to make their voice heard. It is important for us to understand the nature of this medium. It is a medium of equals. No single individual or organization can control it or manipulate it. We must respect this basic nature of this medium. Let me give you the example of a recent incident when a restaurant in Mumbai had to suffer due to rank intolerance of the Congress party. The Sales Receipt of that restaurant was shared on Social Media by some conscious citizens. It soon went viral. It came to the attention of one newspaper, which published a story on it. I merely added my voice to express solidarity on this issue, with all those venting their frustration and despair on it, through Social Media. This is the nature of the Medium. It is essentially about listening, sharing and dialoguing. 

Question: Modi-ji one of the biggest complaints of Social Media is what many people call "trolling". Abuse in Social Media has become a big problem. Recently there have been personal attacks on eminent people and their families. What is your suggestion on how to deal with this menace? 

Our Culture is known for its long standing traditions of respecting our elders and our scholars. In the same vein, we worship and celebrate Women's Power as Shakti. Expressing one’s opinion on Social Media, does not imply, that we abandon our Culture and value systems. Our conduct at home, offices and schools, is based on certain well appreciated norms of mutual respect and dignity. The same ought to apply to our conduct on Social Media as well. 

This is what I mean by the need for Modernization, and not Westernization. We must embrace modern technology and harness its Power. But our use of modern technology must not come at the expense of us forgetting our values and ethics. 

What was the word you mentioned just now ... ah yes "trolling". It reminds me of how disinformation would be used by Nations against each other, by planting false stories and creating havoc during Wars. It is unfortunate that some vested interests are misusing the power of Social Media to indulge in a similar effort. Recently I had come across an instance where a morphed digital image was circulated with a malicious and slanderous intention. Technology makes it quite easy to accomplish this. We however, have to guard against this sort of disinformation, peddled through fake sites and fictitious accounts. We have to use our judgement on Social Media on what sources to trust just as we would do in real life where we are able to differentiate between genuine news and rumours. 

Quetion: Modi-ji there is a lot of debate on how representative Social Media is of India's realities. How seriously should we take Social Media ? How many of these individuals on Social Media will actually vote? 

You would recall in a recent speech I had alluded to the need for Electoral Reforms like Online Voting and the option to reject Candidates. We have to ensure our Youth stays engaged in our Democratic process. We have to make our Democratic process accessible to them through a medium, which they use and comprehend the most. Social Media in my opinion, is a tool that can help in this. I can tell you there are real voices, serious voices that want to be heard. For instance, my request for ideas and suggestions on the problems of our Education System elicited serious response. Similarly, solicitation of ideas towards my upcoming speech in Hyderabad has brought forth responses on the state of the economy, jobs, roadmap for Andhra Pradesh and much more. There is real sentiment out there, full of veritable emotions and legitimate aspirations to do something, to make a difference. We have to listen, appreciate and respect that sentiment, which is being expressed through Social Media. Today scores of Indians have mobile phones. Even a simple thought expressed through the mode of a SMS can travel far and wide, in a matter of minutes, through multiple sharing. We must harness all possibilities that are out there in the public domain. 

Elections and campaigns will come and go, however, our mission to make our Democracy, more deliberative, and consequently purposeful should remain uncompromised.  It should be responsive to our Youth, who today constitute a significant part of the population.

 

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Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi interacting with the children, after offering prayers at Kamakhya Temple

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India, Iran, Afghanistan ink 'historic' Chabahar port agreement; PM Modi calls it 'corridor of peace, prosperity'

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India, Iran, Afghanistan ink 'historic' Chabahar port agreement; PM Modi calls it 'corridor of peace, prosperity'
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Historic Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor Agreement inked
To carve out new routes of peace and prosperity is our common goal. We want to link with the world: PM Modi
The watch-words of international ties are trust not suspicion; cooperation not dominance; inclusivity not exclusion: PM
Economic fruits of Chahbahar Agreement will expand trade, attract investment, build infrastructure, develop industry & create jobs: PM
Amidst the landscape of political turmoil & economic stress, our 3 countries are blessed with the most potent resource - our youth: PM

Your Excellency Dr. Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran,

Your Excellency Dr. Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Honourable Ministers

Ladies and Gentlemen

A famous poet of Persia, Hafez once said:

रोज़े- हिज्रो-शबे-फ़ुर्क़ते-यार आख़र शुद

ज़दम इन फ़ालो-गुज़श्त अख़्तरो कार आख़र शुद्

[Meaning: Days of separation are over; night of wait is coming to an end; Our friendship will stay forever.]

Today, we are all witnessing creation of history. Not just for the people of our three countries, but for the entire region. To build bonds of connectivity is the most basic of human urges. Today, we seek to fulfil it. We are grateful to Excellency Rouhani for hosting this unique event. Thank you President Ashraf Ghani, for your presence. It truly holds a special significance. It is a privilege to be here. Excellency Rouhani, President Ghani and I have just held detailed discussions on a range of issues. The agenda for economic engagement is a clear priority for us. We stand together in unity of our purpose. To carve out new routes of peace, and prosperity is our common goal. We want to link with the world. But, better connectivity among ourselves is also our priority. It is indeed a new dawn for the region.

Excellencies,

Iran, Afghanistan and India are deeply aware of the richness and reality of our ancient links. Through centuries, art and culture, ideas and knowledge, language and traditions have formed a common bond between us. Even through turmoil of history, our societies never lost touch with each other. Today, we meet to write new chapters in our engagement.

Excellencies, The Agreement on the establishment of a Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor signed just a while ago can alter the course of history of this region. It is a new foundation of convergence between our three nations. The corridor would spur unhindered flow of commerce throughout the region. Inflow of capital and technology could lead to new industrial infrastructure in Chahbahar. This would include gas based fertilizer plants, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and IT. The key arteries of the corridor would pass through the Chahbahar port of Iran. It's very location, on the mouth of Gulf of Oman, is of great strategic significance. Afghanistan will get an assured, effective, and a more friendly route to trade with the rest of the world. The arc of economic benefit from this agreement would extend beyond our three nations. Its reach could extend to the depths of the Central Asian countries. When linked with the International North South Transport Corridor, it would touch South Asia at one end and Europe at another. And, studies show that as compared to the traditional sea routes, it could bring down the cost and time of the cargo trade to Europe by about 50%. Over time, we could even look to connect it with the strong sea and land based routes that India has developed with the Indian Ocean Region and South East Asia.

Excellencies,

The world of 21st century offers unique opportunities.But, it also poses its own set of challenges.Today, the nature of global engagement requires an attitude more suitable to this century, not the mindset of the century gone by. Today, the watch-words of international tiesare trust not suspicion; cooperation not dominance; inclusivity not exclusion. This is also the guiding philosophy and driving spirit of the Chahbahar Agreement. This will be a corridor of peace and prosperity for our peoples. Motives of economic growth, and empowerment would drive it. It will build our security without making others vulnerable. It would break barriers among our nations and encourage new benchmarks of people-to-people contacts. And, help us to eventually build what we all desire and deserve - a friendly and healthy neighbourhood.

Excellencies,

The world around us is changing in fundamental ways. And, the lack of comprehensive connectivity is not the only challenge that limits our national growth. Political turmoil and undercurrents of economic stress continue to spread in West Asia. In the Indo-Pacific,rise a mix of political competition and economic opportunities is putting pressure on the existing Asian order. Global economy is yet to fully come out of uncertainty and weakness. Our present growth and future prosperity is under threat from the spread of radical ideas and physical terror. Amidst this landscape, our three countries are blessed with the most potent resource—our youth. Our three nations are estimated to have more than 60 percent of their population under 30 years of age. They are an asset in our national and regional development. We want them to walk the road to knowledge and skills; industry and enterprise. And, not fall victim to the path of guns and violence. I am confident that economic fruits of the Chahbahar Agreement will expand trade, attract investment, build infrastructure, develop industry and create jobs for our youth. The Agreement will strengthen our ability to stand in mutual support against those whose only motto is to maim and kill the innocents. Its success will be a positive vote for peace and stability in the region.

Excellencies, It is my strong belief that trade and transit routes should only be a starting point of our journey to greater connectivity. In my vision, the full spectrum of connectivity agenda between Iran, Afghanistan and India should span: • from culture to commerce;

• from traditions to technology;

• from Investments to IT;

• from services to strategy; and

• from people to politics.

In a way, it is a pledge to:

• Realize the imperative of better connectivity;

• Establish peace and create stability;

• Build economic prosperity and engineer new trade ties;

• Curb radicalism and remove shadows of terror; and

• Break barriers and spread sweetness of familiarity among our people.

History will look back at this effort with nothing but approval and admiration.

I compliment Excellencies Rouhani and Ghani for their leadership in guiding this effort.

Thank you all. Thank you very much.